Thursday, July 21, 2011

NPA rebels spring jailed leader in the Philippines

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / July 21, 2011) – Communist rebels have seized four prison guards after springing out early Thursday a jailed leader on their way to a penitentiary in the southern Philippines, officials said.

Officials said several huge groups of New People’s Army rebels stopped a prison truck in the town of Kitaotao in Bukidnon province and rescued their leader in a daring operation that caught security authorities by surprise.

The rebels escaped with their hostages in tow and among those being held are two jail officers. The prison guards were transporting eight prisoners from Misamis Occidental province to a penal colony in Davao del Norte province when rebels struck midway.

Major Eugenio Osias, a regional army spokesman, said the gunmen only took the jailed rebel leader initially identified only as Rodinas and left the other prisoners, including six prison guards.

“They only got the rebel leader and the four prison guards, two of them are both jail officers,” he told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.

It was not immediately known how many rebels were involved in the rescue, but initial reports put them as around 200 gunmen. The fates of the hostages remain unclear.

“We have stepped up our security in Davao and alerted troops about the escape of the NPA prisoner,” Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Santiago, a spokesman for the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, said in a separate interview.

There was no immediate statement from the NPA which has been fighting for decades for the establishment of a Maoist state in the Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner)

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