Rebel leader, escorts nabbed in Mindanao

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Joint police and military operatives arrested five communist rebels, including the front secretary of the communist’s North Central Mindanao Regional Committee, last week, a top military official said.

Major General Victor Felix, commanding officer of the Army’s 4th infantry division, identified the arrested rebels as Pedro Codaste, Norberto Espina Jr., Hector Camelotes and Eddie Alegre.

They were arrested at a checkpoint in the village of Fili in Bayugan, Agusan  del Sur, before noon Friday.

Felix said Codaste has a number of warrants of arrest issued by the Regional Trial Court of Malaybalay City for double murder and double frustrated murder cases.

“Nobody can hide from the long arm of the law forever,” Felix said.

Codaste’s arrest came on the second day of the 18-day Christmas ceasefire between the government and the insurgents.

Felix, however, said the arrest did not violate the truce because the arresting personnel were only enforcing the warrants of arrest.

Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos, spokesperson of the National Democratic Front in Mindanao, said Codaste’s arrest violated the truce.

“It was a flagrant breach and dishonor of the agreement. Technically, it violated the spirit of the ceasefire,” he said.

Madlos said the NDF will formally file a complaint before the joint ceasefire monitoring committee and will demand the immediate release of Codaste and his companions. Albus D. Estabas

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