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Rebels say POWs being treated well

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By Armando Fenequito Jr. and Mike Crismundo

DAVAO CITY – The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) assured the family of the two soldiers and 12 militiamen captured by elements of its military arm New People’s Army (NPA) in Sibagat, Agusan del Sur on Wednesday, are being treated well.

“All prisoners-of-war who were captured after surrendering during the raid in Agusan del Sur are being treated leniently,” the CPP said in a statement.

The soldiers and militiamen were abducted in a pre-dawn raid of a patrol base of the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu) Auxiliary Unit in New Tubigon Area in Sibagat, Agusan del Sur.

It said these men in captivity will be released soonest so long as the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) relents in its offensive.

“In order to pave the way for their orderly and safe release and give them the opportunity to be with their families this Christmas,” the statement said.

The party urged third-party facilitators to coordinate and cooperate with the local NPA command.

The statement was issued even as field unit commanders of the AFP in Northeastern Mindanao (Caraga region) questioned the sincerity of the CPP-NPA’s earlier declaration of holiday ceasefire.

According to commanders of the Army’s 401st and 402nd Infantry Brigades and other special forces battalion “signified the NPA’s lack of intention to observe ceasefire this holiday season”.

“They used their (NPAs) announced truce in their tactical movement by attacking government forces and soldiers on the ground,” said an angry battalion commander assigned in Agusan.

“These terrorists are really not sincere in their announcements (Holidays truce),” another battalion commander in Surigao del Sur said, adding “hindi mo talaga yan sila maasahan sa kanilang pananalita (no one can really rely on their word).”

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