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Leftist rebels release 2 kidnapped gov't soldiers in S. Philippines


18:39, February 21, 2013

DAVAO CITY, Philippines, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Leftist rebels on Thursday released two government soldiers they kidnapped last month in southern Philippines, a military official said.

Private First Class Jezreel Culango and Police Officer 1 Ruel Pasion were released by their New People's Army captors at the hinterlands of Kapalong, Davao del Norte province past 1:00 p.m. local time and turned over to several religious and non-government organization's people, according to Captain Nathaniel Morales, spokesperson for the 1003rd Infantry Brigade.

The kidnap victims were then fetched by local officials led by Davao City Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and flown in to the regional army and police headquarters here around 4:00 p.m. Morales told Xinhua. Morales said the victims were going through a stress debriefing.

New People's Army (NPA) rebels snatched Culango and Pasion from a checkpoint along a village road in Laak town, Compostela Valley on Jan. 17.

The NPA's Merardo Arce Command said in a statement the two " prisoners of war" have been freed as a humanitarian gesture despite that they were found guilty of "lesser offenses" against the rebel movement.

The 4,000-strong NPA, armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, is fighting a leftist insurgency in 60 Philippine provinces since 1969.

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