Philippines says arrests Maoist commander

Philippine security forces shot and arrested a senior Maoist guerrilla the day after a ceasefire ended.

Philippines says arrests Maoist commander

Philippine security forces shot and arrested a senior Maoist guerrilla the day after a ceasefire ended.

Tirso Alcantara, a member of the communist party's political bureau which also controls the New People's Army (NPA), was caught on Tuesday night in Quezon province, south of Manila, while attempting to pass through a checkpoint.

Colonel Generoso Bolina, an army spokesman, said the arrest would derail Maoist plans to launch offensives as a way of increase their leverage in peace talks set to resume next month in Oslo, Norway.

"This would be a big blow to the NPA rebels' morale. He has been drawing up the rebels' military plans and directions," said Bolina, describing Alcantara, also known as Ka (Comrade) Bart, as the highest ranking rebel leader to be captured in four years. On Saturday, another Maoist leader, Edwin Brigano, was caught while visiting his family on the southern island of Mindanao.

A NPA spokesman had said that arrest could threaten the resumption of peace talks next month. The NPA could not be reached on Wednesday for comment on Alcantara's arrest.

The Maoists have been fighting since the 1960s to overthrow the Philippine government.

Quezon province police chief Ericsson Velasquez told Reuters, "he was shot in the buttock when he tried to resist arrest", adding Alcantara had left his house in Lucena City a few minutes before a raid by soldiers and police.

Last Mod: 05 Ocak 2011, 10:05
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