Leftist rebels release last kidnapped soldier in S Philippines

16:53, July 20, 2010      

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Leftist rebels on Tuesday released the last government soldier they held for over a month in southern Philippines, the military said.

Sergeant Bienvinido Arguilles was freed by his New People's Army (NPA) captors in a village in Monkayo town, in Mindanao's Compostela Valley past 1 p.m., Captain Emmanuel Garcia, spokesperson of the military's 10th Infantry Division, said.

"Yes he was already freed," Garcia told Xinhua in a text message, adding the freed soldier who has been in captivity for over a month would be brought to the regional military camp here for medical checkup and debriefing.

Arguilles was received by local and religious officials following a brief rebel send-off ceremony, civilian sources told Xinhua.

The NPA confirmed the release in a statement, crediting efforts by the soldier's family, local and religious officials, for his release on humanitarian grounds.

"(But) it must serve as a warning against people and groups, particularly foreign investors, who are out to plunder local wealth and resources," said Rigoberto Sanchez, spokesperson of the rebels' regional Merardo Arce Command.

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