NPA rebels step up activities, seize 66 assorted firearms
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NPA rebels step up activities, seize 66 assorted firearms

Communist rebels have been stepping up their activities  nationwide and have recently seized a cache of assorted firearms from a security agency in Butuan City.

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A Philippine communist New People's Army rebel, right, strums his guitar while meeting a few invited journalists (unseen) at their camp in the jungles of Mindanao island in southern Philippines. Pic: AP

The firearms, the majority of them high-powered rifles, are more than enough to arm another company of New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas.

The NPA rebels belonging to the Cesar Cayon Command of the North Central Mindanao Party Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) reportedly posed themselves as agents and operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation in subduing the four guards manning the agency last April 23 (Monday).

The raid was over in 10 minutes.

The security agency Earth Saver is reportedly owned by a retired Philippine Army general Paul Nario and has been providing security services to several mining companies in the Caraga region.

The rebels took away 46 AK-47 assault rifles, 3 M14 sniper rifles, 10 shotguns and 7 assorted handguns without firing a single shot, according to rebel spokesman Allan Juanito.

The rebel loot on Monday was the biggest in recent years in Mindanao. In 2010, the NPAs overran an army detachment in North Cotabato fleeing with them at least 32 assorted high-powered rifles.  The biggest number of firearms seized by the rebels, however, was during an assault at a military armory in Negros Islands in the 1980s where the NPAs fled with over 200 rifles and light artillery.

Two days later, on April 25, NPA rebels in Ifugao in Luzon ambushed a convoy of soldiers returning from a military operations killing 11 Army personnel on the spot and wounding several others.  Two other soldiers died several days later.

On the same day, NPA rebels also tried but failed to overrun a military detachment in Davao del Sur resulting into the death of two soldiers and four rebels.

The NPAs have been waging a Maoist-inspired guerilla warfare for more than four decades.  It is one of Asia’s longest insurgencies.

Peace talks between the CPP-NPA and its political umbrella the National Democratic Front and the Philippine government have been revived following the election of President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III.   But the peace negotiation has again hit a brick wall after the rebels demanded the release of their captured comrades who they claimed are consultants to the peace negotiations.