2 NPA leaders nabbed in Lanao del Sur

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    TWO New People’s Army leaders were nabbed by government troops at a checkpoint in Sultan Naga Dimaporo town in Lanao del Sur on Sunday.

    The two — Christopher Cañete alias Glock and Virjon Virtudazo alias Thunder — later led the troops to an arms cache in the province.

    Brig. Gen. Facundo Palafox, commander of the Army’s 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade, said Cañete is commander of one of the NPA guerilla fronts operating in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, while Virtudazo is in charge of “brainwashing” and recruitment of rebels in the Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental area.

    The two were arrested by troops under the 2nd Mechanized Brigade and the PNP Regional Mobile Force Battalion while about to pass a checkpoint in Barangay Dableston. They yielded a cal. 45 pistol, a cal. 38 revolver, an improvised explosive device, bomb components, and a rifle grenade.

    During interrogation, the two told soldiers the location of an arms cache in Barangay San Isidro in Kapatagan town, also in Lanao del Norte.

    Troops went to the area before noon Sunday and recovered seven M16 rifles, an AR18 rifle,, an M203 grenade launcher, a cal. 38 revolver, 29 bandoliers, 286 magazines and 2,000 rounds of ammunition for M16 rifle.

    “This is a big blow to the CNTs (CPP-NPA terrorists) of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee because both were occupying top positions in their organization,” Palafox said of the arrest of the two NPA leaders.

    Brig. Gen. Bagnus Gaerland, chief of the 1st Infantry Division, said the arrest will weaken the communist group’s “recruitment and organizational work in our area of operation.”