• NPA raids security agency, takes 6 hostages

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    ZAMBOANGA CITY: Communist rebels disguised as policemen and antidrug agents raided a security agency, carted assorted weapons and took six people captive before escaping, officials said Tuesday.

    Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza, a spokesman for the 10th Infantry Division, said some 15 New People’s Army rebels raided the Davao Security and Investigation Agency Inc. in Tagum City late Monday.

    He said the heavily armed rebels arrived in four vehicles and went straight to the security agency and disarmed the guards. They also tried to open the vault, but failed, he added.

    Paniza said the rebels seized the manager of the security agency and two members of his family, two security guards and an automotive mechanic and used them as shield as they escaped in three armored vans which were recovered Tuesday by soldiers in Compostela Valley’s Maco town.

    “The bandits fled, making off with the manager of the agency and family to include the female minor, the mechanic and two security guards as their hostage,” he said. “These criminal NPAs have lost their ideology and now converted into full-pledged criminals engaging into kidnapping, hijacking, arson and other economic sabotage.”

    Paniza said that the rebels earlier hijacked six vehicles in the town of Makilala in the neighboring province of North Cotabato.

    He said the fate of the hostages remain unknown. “The abducted civilians, especially the minor, should have been spared from their criminal acts. Clearly they don’t respect the individual’s right and will continue to sabotage the development and stability of progressing communities,” he said.

    Paniza also urged security agencies in southern Philippines to stay vigilant against NPA raids and for the public to help authorities by providing information about the rebels.

    Al Jacinto

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