NPA rebels capture 2 soldiers

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

THE military has accused the New People’s Army (NPA) of disrupting the efforts of government soldiers in extending basic services to the people in the hinterland communities by capturing two enlisted personnel last Friday, August 22.

In an e-mailed statement to this paper, the NPA identified the soldiers they had taken as prisoners of war (POW) as Private Marnel Cinches and Private Jerrel Yorong under the Bravo company of the 8th Infantry Battalion (8IB).


The Maoist fighters recovered from their possession a .45 caliber pistol and live ammunition of M203 and M16 rifles.


Lieutenant Norman Tagros, of the 8IB, said Cinches and Yorong were not in uniform and unarmed when the insurgents in bonnets flagged them down on board a motorcycle. The captives are assigned under the Community Organizing for Peace Development (COPD) in the barangay.

"They came [from the area where the livelihood program was held]. As far as we know, they never brought their arms which we do not know where the guns came from based on the NPA's statement," Tagros told this paper by phone Thursday.

Tagros furthered the programs are initiated through the efforts of the late Impasug-ong town mayor Mario Okinlay. He believed the captivity and the programs of the slain mayor are related.

"They have been stopping us from our duties to the people because they feel it wanes the support of the masses to them," he added.

Tagros said they are now in coordination with the local government unit, civil society groups and tribe groups to help them in negotiating for the relief of Cinches and Yorong.

But Major Christian Uy, the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID) spokesman, said Thursday that what happened to Cinches and Yorong were not arrest, but abduction of sorts.

Uy told Sun*Star Cagayan de Oro that "the NPAs kidnapped the soldiers unarmed" since the rebels "have no power of arresting people."

Of the rebels' motives, Uy maintained: "They really wanted us to stop our delivery of basic services to the people of Barangay Buntongan, [Impasug-ong town in Bukidnon]. They want to disrupt our bayanihan efforts in the area," he said.

The NPA's regional command in North Central Mindanao Region (NPA-NCMR) has confirmed two soldiers belonging to the 8IB were captured around 5 p.m. Friday, August 22, at Buntongon.

The captives are held in one unit of the NPA and will be taken care of following the law of war. The armed insurgents have informed the soldier's respective families that they are in good and safe condition, the statement said.

Allan Juanito, NPA-NMCR spokesperson, said they will conduct investigation whether or not Cinches and Yorong have committed human rights violations and other complaints against them.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 28, 2014.

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