NPA senior leader falls in Iloilo

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The military said Sunday it had detained a senior communist rebel leader, the latest in a series of arrests or killings which have damaged one of the world’s longest-running insurgencies.

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Military agents and police arrested Maria Concepcion Araneta-Bocala, a central committee member of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), at a home in Iloilo City on the central island of Panay on Saturday, military spokesmen said.

They seized two pistols and a hand grenade.

The statement identified Bocala as the secretary in charge of communist rebel forces in Panay, a largely rural island with a population of over four million.

“Her arrest will (cause) another vacuum in the leadership of the CPP-NPA organisation that has been rocked by successive arrests and neutralization efforts,” said military spokesman Colonel Noel Detoyato in a statement

He credited “months of intelligence work” for the capture, adding that Bocala faces charges of murder and rebellion.

The suspect reportedly had a bounty of P7.8 million on her head.

A leading NPA commander, Leonardo Pitao, was killed in a mountainous hamlet near the major southern city of Davao in June.

Earlier that month, Adelberto Silva, described by the military as the “highest-ranking” CPP-NPA leader, was captured. Last year CPP chairman Benito Tiamzon and his wife Wilma Tiamzon, the party’s secretary-general, were arrested.

AFP

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