Thursday, August 23, 2007

Rebels seize guns from Philippine police station

MANILA, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Communist rebels wearing army uniforms walked into a police station in the southern Philippines on Wednesday and left with 11 assault rifles and handguns, officials said.

Around 20 members of the New People's Army (NPA) emptied San Isidro's police station, which was located inside the town hall, at around noon without firing a shot.

"They came in two vans pretending to turn over a captured rebel," Eleuterio Quilisadio, police chief in the southern province of Davao Oriental, told reporters.
"But once inside the town hall, they disarmed all police officers and emptied the town's armoury of weapons, bullets and supplies."
The rebels also raided a nearby mango plantation, taking two more guns from security guards, police said.

It was the second NPA raid in the area since April when guerrillas seized 114 weapons from a prison.

Since 1969, the 7,000-member NPA has been fighting a protracted guerrilla warfare in 69 of 81 provinces in the mainly Roman Catholic country.
The communist insurgency, one of the longest-running Maoist rebellions in Asia, has killed more than 40,000 people.

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