ZAMBOANGA CITY: The New People’s Army have owned up to the abduction of two government soldiers and declared them as prisoners of war in southern Philippines where security forces are battling the communist rebel group.
Aries Francisco, a rebel spokesman, said the duo – Privates First Class Niño Alavaro and Marjon Anover – were being interrogated for their role in the government’s anti-insurgency campaign in the restive region.
He said both soldiers are members of the “Reengineered Special Operations Team” of the 25th Infantry Battalion deployed in Compostela Valley’s Monkayo town. They were captured on September 30 at a rebel checkpoint in Casoon village while on a covert mission.
“In adherence to the protocols of war, the NPA custodial unit is duty-bound to treat the two prisoners of war humanely and leniently while an investigating team subjects them to the judicial process under the tenets of revolutionary justice,” Francisco said.
He also tagged the soldiers’ unit as behind many human rights violations in the province, including the torture and slaying of three arrested NPA fighters in Montevista town last year.
“The NPA mounted the checkpoint in response to the atrocities committed by the 25th Infantry Battalion. The fascist Army troops committed grave human rights violations in the villages when they ransacked several houses, encamped village centers, committed serious psychological warfare and arrested civilians on account of fake criminal charges. It was the same army unit which seized and tortured to death three Red fighters in Montevista, Compostela Valley last year,” Francisco said.
There was no immediate statement from the army on the capture of the soldiers and allegations by the rebel group.