DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Feb. 12, 2011) – Two government soldiers were killed and two others wounded after military and police forces sent to rescue a policeman held by communist rebels clashed in the southern Philippines.
The two groups clashed before dawn Friday in the remote village of Salvacion in Agusan del Sur’ Trento town after soldiers and police commandos mistook each other as rebels.
The New People’s Army rebels are holding police officer Jorge Sabatin who was taken prisoner after communist fighters raided a police post in the province. The rebels earlier warned police and military not to rescue the prisoner because it could jeopardize his safety.
“Two fascist troops were killed and another two wounded after a 30-minute firefight ensued between the forces of the 75th Infantry Battalion and Scout Rangers Company and the Special Action Force and Police Provincial Mobile Group,” said Roel Agustin II, a spokesman for the NPA’s Conrado Heredia Command.
“Expectedly, these so-called military and police rescue operations would end up in complete failures. Enemy troops much despised by the people are blind and deaf in the guerilla territories, and are wont to commit grave mistakes. These errors only heighten the demoralization of ordinary foot soldiers and prove the futility of such military and police combat missions,” he added.
The rebel spokesman said the policeman, who is being held as prisoner of war, would be released to his family after the NPA investigated him for any serious crime against the civilians and the NPA, armed wing of the underground Communist Party of the Philippines which is currently negotiating peace with Manila. “He (Sabatin) will be released and safely returned to his family following an investigation whether he was engaged in any serious crime against the people and the revolutionary forces. It has always been an inimitable tradition of the NPA to uphold the rights of its POWs, something we can hardly say about the police and the military,” Agustin said.
“We call on the family of Police Officer 3 Jorge Sabatin to demand the cessation of the futile rescue operations for the expeditious and safe conduct of his investigation, and possible consequent release,” he said.
The rebels are fighting for the establishment of a Maoist state in the largely Catholic nation. President Benigno Aquino 3rd has opened peace talks with the rebels in an effort to end decades of bloody fighting in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)