Manila Bulletin

Duterte enlisting ex-cops to combat NPA sparrow unit


President Duterte bared that he has sought the assistance of former police officers in Mindanao to help deal with the New People's Army’s (NPA) Special Partisan Unit (SPARU), also known as the dreaded sparrow unit assassinat­ion squad, amid reports they have stepped up attacks against troops and rebel returnees.

"I’m trying to enlist also the help of former police officers assigned in Mindanao where the Sparrows are most active. Nagbibigay ako ng armas [I've giving away guns but] there’s always the caveat, the warning na bantay kayo sa Sparrow [be on guard against the Sparrow]," Duterte said during a military camp visit in Zamboanga City last Saturday.

"So be careful of the Sparrows and there are policemen, retired or active going around and some of them are also former NPAs, meron ‘yan silang short [they carry short firearms]," he added.

The President has vowed to "return the favor" to the communist hit squad if they continue attacking troops and former rebels.

He said the government has deep penetratio­n agents within the communist group so he would know the identities of the assassins.

“Tutal marami man kaming deep penetratio­n diyan sa inyo [Besides we have many deep penetratio­n agents in your ranks], I would know you and maybe do it to you also,” he said.

Last December, the President revealed that he wanted to rehire some security officials who fought sparrow unit members in Davao City to join the fight against the NPA rebels and terrorists.

He mentioned the name of retired police general Nelson Estares, who was recently appointed undersecre­tary in the Office of the President.

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