Friday, April 29, 2011

Philippine rebels holding 2 soldiers release proof of life

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 29, 2011) – Communist rebels have released Friday video and audio recordings of two government soldiers being held as prisoners of war in the southern Philippines.

The duo – Corporal Delfin Largo Sarocam and Private First Class Jayson Burgos Valenzuela – were captured by New People’s Army on April 14 in the village of Datu Inda in North Cotabato’s President Roxas town.

Isabel Santiago, a spokesperson for the NPA’s Herminio Alfonso Command, assured the soldiers’ families that the infantrymen are safe and well and warned the military of any rescue attempt, saying, it could jeopardize the safety of the two and derail their possible early release.

The two soldiers were being investigated for possible crimes against civilians and the NPA in the course of the mission. They rebels said the soldiers are part of a counterinsurgency team deployed in the town where the NPA is actively operating.

The soldiers are members of the 57th Infantry Battalion. The military said the two soldiers are part of a team of peace and development groups involved in community works.

In his audio recoding, Sarocam said he is being treated well by the rebels. “I appeal to my battalion commander to pull out the troops operating near here to hasten our safe release. To my wife and child, do not worry because I am in good hands,” he said.

Valenzuela also said that his captors were treating him well, but he sounded scared and told his family not to worry about him. He also appealed to his commander to stop all rescue operation. “The New People’s Army will not release us if our safety is not guaranteed,” he said.

The Philippine Army did not give any statement about the two prisoners nor its operations aimed at rescuing the soldiers. The rebels are fighting for decades for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)

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