The Philippine military said suspected members of New People’s Army (NPA) abducted three peacebuilders, who were former rebels in Motiong, Samar, Friday.
Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division said the communist group abducted a certain Cosme Cabangunay and his two sons, Jevie and Jason.
The victims were reportedly former NPA members who surrendered to the government and are now serving as members of Motiong Peacebuilders. It is an organization of former rebels working for peace and community development.
Barangay Canvais chairperson Vilma Gabane reported the incident to the authorities, the military said. More or less five armed men forcibly took the victims at gunpoint inside their house, Gabane said.
Lieutenant Colonel Reynaldo Balido Jr., battalion commander of 87th Infantry Battalion, condemned the incident, noting the abductions was a heinous crime that is against International Humanitarian Law.
“We vehemently condemn this barbaric act of the NPA terrorists. They have victimized non-combatants. They abducted people who are working for peace in the locality,” Balido said.
Also read: 3 NPA members killed in Negros Oriental
The victims’ families appeal to the NPA rebels to release the peacebuilders.
Colonel Camilo Ligayo, commander of the 801st Infantry Brigade, also demanded the safe release of the victims. He promised that the government forces would do everything to rescue the victims from the NPA rebels in Samar.
“It is with deep regret that the NPA terrorists have once again shown their evil ways by oppressing the ordinary people who want to live in peace. We assure the relatives that our soldiers will do everything necessary to pursue the perpetrators and bring them to justice,” Ligayo said.
“To the communist NPA terrorists, the people of Motiong demand that you release the victims unharmed. You can embrace peace with us or face the fury and condemnation of the community as the government forces will relentlessly pursue you,” he added.
The military earlier recovered two improvised explosive devices at the border of Barangay Parasanon and Barangay Pelaon in Pinabacdao, Samar.
According to the report, troopers obtained the IED with blasting caps and wires on Monday morning with the help of residents who provided them with information on where the explosives were located.