Rebels hold governor, disarm escorts in S. Philippines

11:01, May 09, 2010      

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Leftist rebels briefly held the convoy of a governor in southern Philippines Saturday and disarmed the officials' bodyguards, the military said.

Vicente Pimentel, the governor of Mindanao's Surigao del Sur province, and his allies were stopped by New People's Army guerrillas at a road in San Vicente village, Bislig City shortly before noon, Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, a regional military spokesperson, said.

Pimentel and his companions were on their way home from a political rally when rebels flagged their vehicles and ordered everyone to get off.

"As a result, (the rebels) carted away two M-16 assault rifles from the security escorts of the governor," Cabangbang told Xinhua by phone, adding the group was allowed to leave after several minutes unharmed.

The incident was the latest perpetrated by suspected NPA rebels in the region in the run-up to Monday's polls.

The military official believed the guerrillas who disarmed Pimentel's escorts could be the ones behind the abduction of a Surigao del Sur mayor and his four bodyguards in neighboring Compostela Valley province early Wednesday.

The fates of the mayor and his escorts remain uncertain as of press time.

Source: Xinhua


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