Philippine rebels release more hostages: Military



Philippine rebels release more hostages: Military Manila: Philippine communist rebels on Sunday freed a town mayor and his two military escorts after more than two months in captivity, a day after they also released four jail guards, the military said.

Members of the New People's Army (NPA) freed mayor Henry Dano and army soldiers Alan Saban and Alrey Desamaparado in a remote mountain area on the insurgency-wracked southern Mindanao island, the military said.

It did not release information on the medical condition of the three, but said they had been reunited with their families.

"The detention of mayor Henry Dano... as an accused under the custody of the revolutionary people's democratic government and not as a prisoner of war, ends today," the rebels said in a statement after his release.

About 30 heavily armed NPA guerrillas seized the three men at Dano's home on August 6, accusing the official of committing large-scale human rights violations as mayor of Mindanao's Lingig town.

Dano's release came two weeks after his captors released a video clip of him purportedly apologising for alleged human rights violations.

The NPA said Dano was tried under its "people's court" which then decided to "archive" his case, leading to his release.

It added that the two army officers were to have been executed but were given a second chance after admitting their offence and promising never again to join government counter-insurgency operations.

Yesterday, the rebels freed four jail guards who were kidnapped in a separate incident on Mindanao island two months ago.

The four were turned over to the International Committee of the Red Cross for "humanitarian reasons", the NPA said. The NPA is the armed unit of the Communist Party of the Philippines, which has been waging a Maoist revolution since 1969.

It has about 5,000 fighters scattered mostly in the country's impoverished countryside, where they have engaged in kidnappings and extortion, authorities said.

Last week, the rebels attacked three mine sites in Mindanao, destroying equipment and forcing the government to deploy additional troops to protect vulnerable targets.

PTI