PAGADIAN CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 10, 2012) – Dozens of communist rebels stormed a police headquarters in a daring attack in the southern Philippines and carted weapons and took one policeman hostage in their escape, officials said Tuesday.
Officials said at least 40 New People’s Army rebels attacked at around 7 p.m. on Monday in the town of Tigbao in Zamboanga del Sur. There were no reports of casualties, but the fate of the hostage, Juhali Faisal, remains unknown.
Rebels also put up a checkpoint along the national highway as the others raided the town’s police headquarters.
Officials downplayed the raid, saying it was a simple robbery and that troops were deployed on Tuesday to track down the raiders.
“The New People’s Army raid of the Tigbao police station is not a cause for alarm. It is a case of simple robbery with kidnapping. There is nothing daring with what they have accomplished.”
“We shall pursue the like common criminals and support the police operations to ensure the safe release of Police Officer 2 Faisal who was used as human shield to cover their withdrawal,” said Army Major General Noel Coballes, chief of the Western Mindanao Command.
The raid occurred despite dozens of police and military checkpoints along the highway in Zamboanga del Sur and nearby Zamboanga Sibugay province where security forces are searching for a kidnapped town mayor, Jeffrey Lim, of Salug town.
Lim was seized by suspected Muslim rebels who are also actively operating in the Zamboanga Peninsula.
The NPA has been fighting for decades for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)