NPA seizes militiaman in Tandag

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/19 May) — New People’s Army (NPA) rebels abducted on Thursday a member of the Civilian Armed Force Geographical Unit (Cafgu) at his home in Tandag City.

The Army identified the Cafgu member as Jeremias E. Estrada, of Purok Lansones, Barangay San Agustin Norte, Tandag City, the capital of Surigao del Sur.

Estrada was assigned at Matho Patrol Base, in Barangay Matho, Cortes town in Surigao del Sur.

Reports said he was whisked away by heavily armed men inside his house at 7:00 a.m. Thursday.

Lt. Col. Randolph P. Rojas, commanding officer of 36th Infantry Battalion, said Estrada was off-duty and spending time with his family when four armed men with AK 47 rifles barged inside his house and hogtied him before taking him with them.

He said the armed men ignored pleas by his family not to take him away.

Rojas said the victim’s wife Berlinda appealed to the abductors not to harm her husband for he is the breadwinner of the family.

The Army official said Berlinda saw over 20 heavily armed men outside their residence.

“Mag-unsa nalang kami sa akong pamilya kun wala na ang akong bana nga maoy nagbuhi kanamo (What will happen to us if my husband who is earning for us will be gone)?” Roxas quoted her as saying.

Rojas has condemned the abduction. He said the incident showed the insincerity of the rebels to pursue the peace talks.

“This shows that their movement no longer adheres to principles and ideology as this is the handiwork of bandits. I call on everyone to help the military and police in order to give immediate justice to our friend,” he said in Cebuano in a press statement Friday.

“We have on-going rescue operations along with our police force,” said Capt. Al Anthony Pueblas of the 36th Infantry Battalion.

Ka Sandra, spokesperson of NPA Guerrilla Front 30 operating in Tandag and neighboring towns admitted on radio station dxBC-Butuan on Thursday afternoon, that they abducted Estrada. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)