Rebs seize Army soldier in Valencia raid

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/09 May) — An Army soldier was taken captive by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who raided a security agency in neighboring Valencia City last week, the NPA said in a statement Monday.

The NPA-South Central Bukidnon Subregional Command identified the captive as TSgt Joseph Paredes of the 8th Infantry Battalion.

Paredes happened to pass by the rebel checkpoint along the highway in Valencia on Friday night (May 5). The rebels took his caliber .45 pistol.

A policeman identified as Police Officer 1 Emilio Traya of the Maramag town police station was also flagged down at the checkpoint. His service pistol, a Glock 9mm pistol, was taken by the rebels, but he managed to escape, the statement said.

The NPA raided the office of DASIA Security Agency at the city proper on Friday night and carted away eight firearms — one AK47 rifle, one caliber .45 pistol, three shotguns and four caliber .38 pistols.

“The attack in Valencia proper belied claims by the 8th Infantry Battalion and the 403rd Infantry Brigade that the NPA is losing mass base support because the city center itself had become the target of attack,” the statement written in Cebuano said.

It accused security agencies of defending the interests of banks and businesses by persecuting workers to suppress their legitimate demands.

Aside from the statement, the NPA sent a video footage of Paredes posted on Youtube where the captive asked Bukidnon Governor Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. and Bishop Felixberto Calang of the Philippine Independent Church to ask the military to suspend operations to expedite his release.

Paredes told his wife and family not to worry as the rebels had promised to release him. (H. Marcos C. Mordeno/MindaNews)