DAVAO CITY-- Suspected members of the New People's Army (NPA) abducted two soldiers belonging to 39th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army in Columbio, Sultan Kudarat.
This was confirmed by Captain Rhyan Batchar, chief information officer of 10th Infantry (Agila) Division in a phone interview on Thursday.
Batchar said the soldiers were on board a motorcycle on their way to their headquarters when flagged down by more or less 10 heavily armed NPAs at around 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday in Purok 7, Barangay Tilapas, Columbio, Sultan Kudarat.
The two soldiers were supposed to report to their headquarters to undergo re-enlistment when abducted, he added.
The names of the victims are still being withheld as of posting time, Batchar said.
In a separate statement issued on Thursday noon, the 10th ID condemned the abduction of the two soldiers.
"The NPAs are showing complete disregard of their own earlier pronouncement that their unilateral ceasefire is in effect until February 10 by continuously committing atrocities against soldiers and civilians," the statement said.
The command also demanded for the immediate release of the two soldiers and urged the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to order the NPAs to immediately stop committing criminal acts victimizing the people that could imperil the peace negotiations.
"This action of the NPA further confirms that it is never a people's army but a nuisance propaganda army of the local communists," the statement added.
Batchar also said in the interview that the local crisis committee in Columbio town led by Mayor Amir Musali is scheduled to convene today.
The meeting will be joined by representatives from 39th IB and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the province, he added.
"Rest assured that the AFP, PNP and the local government units of the Municipality of Columbio and the Province of Sultan Kudarat are closely working together to address the incident. We are now on heightened alert and have instructed our line units to be vigilant and maintain proactive measures avoiding the said incident from happening again," the 10th ID statement concluded. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency