Philippine Maoist rebels raid Japanese-run banana farm

MANILA (Kyodo) — Communist rebels disguised as government soldiers on Thursday raided a Japanese-managed banana farm on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, a military spokesman said.

At least two dozen New People’s Army guerillas in military uniforms raided the main compound of the Sumifru Philippines Corp. plantation at around 4:20 a.m., Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza said.

They disarmed the farm’s guards, seized their weapons, stole a generator set and torched two water trucks before leaving the plantation, which is located in Kapatagan, a village of Laak town in the Compostela Valley of eastern Mindanao.

Sumifru Philippines Corp., a joint venture involving a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sumitomo Corp., is engaged in the sourcing, production, shipment, distribution, and marketing of fresh fruits, especially bananas.

Thursday’s raid is the latest in a series of sporadic attacks by the communist rebels. On Oct. 3, up to 200 of them raided three mining companies, including Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., on Mindanao.

In September, they torched passenger buses and farm trucks on the country’s main island Luzon and destroyed at least 10 hectares of banana plantations on Mindanao.

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