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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Philippine Communist rebels free captured soldier on humanitarian grounds

The western press almost completely ignores the NPA Maoist insurgency in the Philipppines. Even in the large southern island of Mindanao there are areas where the New Peoples Army holds sway in some rural areas. The clashes mentioned here were near a mining town. Rebels often obtain weapons by raiding isolated police stations or in this case even an army post. Although there have been peace negotiations from time to time unlike the Muslim separatist groups the Maoists have been branded as a terrorist organisation by the US and this make peace negotiations problematic. The group that gets the most press in the west it would seem is the Abu Sayyaf Islamists who are branded a terror group but their numbers are very small compared to the NPA or the MILF. This is from the Herald Sun.

COMMUNIST rebels in the Philippines today freed unharmed a soldier they seized two weeks ago amid deadly clashes that have left almost two dozen guerrillas and security force members dead.
Corporal Dominador Alegre was freed “on humanitarian grounds”, the New People's Army said in a statement, adding that he was handed over to humanitarian workers on the southern island of Mindanao in a “safe and orderly release”.

Alegre was captured on November 2 when a band of NPA rebels stormed an army outpost in the mining town of Monkayo, overpowering the soldiers and stealing high-powered firearms.

Last week, 12 soldiers and policemen and 11 NPA rebels were killed in clashes after the guerrillas attacked a mining company on Mindanao.

The clashes near the town of Lanuza were the deadliest between security forces and the Maoist guerrillas for at least two years, based on publicly available records.

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