19 Feb '11, 10am

Rebels free Philippine cop, ex-soldier amid talks - Straits Times

ZAMBOANGA (Philippines) - COMMUNIST rebels holding peace talks with the Philippine government have freed a police officer and a retired soldier taken hostage ahead of the negotiations, the army said on Saturday. The New People's Army (NPA) handed over retired army sergeant Mario Veluz to an intermediary late on Friday while police officer Jorge Sabatin was separately turned over on Saturday, Lieutenant-Colonel Joshua Santiago told AFP. Their physical condition was not immediately known, said Mr Santiago, the regional military spokesman who added the Maoist rebel group was still holding another police officer and a soldier hostage. 'Mr Veluz is long-retired and is getting on in years. I don't know why they took him hostage in the first place,' Mr Santiago said. The releases were announced separately by the 4,700-member NPA, which is observing a week-long ceasefire amid peac...

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/SEAsia/Story/STI...

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