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Suspected NPAs kidnap cop in Cotabato

NORTH COTABATO , Philippines  – Suspected communist rebels snatched a policeman in Kidapawan City yesterday.

Officials said PO1 Bristol Catalan was riding a motorcycle to Makilala town in North Cotabato when suspected New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas flagged him down and brought him to a remote village in Barangay Katipunan after taking his service firearm.

Police regional spokesman Supt. Romeo Galgo said Catalan is assigned to the Makilala municipal police.

Galgo said the North Cotabato provincial police and the Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion have launched joint operations to track down the rebels holding Catalan captive.

Meanwhile, the regional Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said it would probe the allegations of two farmers harassed by the military on suspicions that they were members of the NPA in Opol, Misamis Oriental.

CHR-10 regional director Jeanne Ivy Abrina said they have docketed the complaint of Roy Ebarat and Julieto Babatido, residents of Barangay Tingalan, in Opol.

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Ebarat and Babatido complained the military entered their homes without a search warrant and accused them of being NPA rebels.

Both denied the allegations and filed the complaint before the CHR regional office.

“We will investigate this because this is not only in relation to our mandate but also with the continuous monitoring of martial law-related human rights violations,” Abrina said.

On the other hand, the NPA in Surigao del Sur issued an apology for the road attack in San Agustin town that wounded a truck driver and his assistant last Aug. 10.

Sandara Amihan, spokesperson for the NPA’s Front Committee 14, said they are taking responsibility for the road attack and promised to compensate the two victims.

Amihan said the NPA planted an improvised explosive device along the highway in Barangay Sto. Niño when the cargo truck driven by Philip Silva Medrano inadvertently detonated the bomb. The explosion also wounded Joel Silyares.

The bomb was supposedly directed at a military convoy going to the province, Amihan said. – With Gerry Lee Gorit, Ben Serrano

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