Troops pursue rebels who snatched civilians in Mindanao
PAGADIAN CITY – Government soldiers pursue a band of communist insurgents who briefly seized 3 civilians and used them as shield while they escaped a military campaign in Misamis Occidental province in southern Philippines, officials said.
Captain Benjie Jimenez, a spokesman for the 1st Infantry Division, said the operation was an offshoot of a recent clash with New People’s Army in Aloran town where they snatched a farming couple and a villager. The trio was later released unharmed and recovered by soldiers.
This was also confirmed by the town’s mayor, Junie Roa, and Roxas village chieftain Marieta Dologaog who claimed the victims were seized from their homes. “The two local officials reported that three of their constituents were forcibly taken from their home and used as human shields by ten communist NPA terrorists while retreating after their armed encounter with 10th Infantry Battalion troops in Sinampongan (village),” Jimenez said.
“The 10th Infantry Battalion immediately conducted rescue operations for the kidnapped civilians. The kidnapped civilians were released after the communist NPA terrorists were able use them as human shields to scamper away from the army’s rescue operations,” he added.
Major General Roseller Murillo, the army division commander, condemned the NPA for holding civilians hostage and used them as shield against pursuing soldiers. “This terroristic act of kidnapping innocent civilians for use as human shields is a crime against international humanitarian law and act of desperate criminal cowards who care nothing about the welfare and safety of the people,” he said.
The NPA has been fighting for many decades for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country.