BAGUIO CITY — The military surfaced a missing teen, which human rights group had earlier reported to have been forcibly taken by soldiers on December 15 in Echague, Isabela.

In a press release posted on the 5th Infantry Division Facebook page, the 86th Battalion said they arrested a certain Jhon-Jhon A. Serios “aka” Macoy. The soldiers claim he was carrying war materials from the New People’s Army (NPA). Government forces intercepted him at about 6:00 am on December 16, somewhere in Sitio Binalla, Barangay San Carlos, in Echague town.

The soldiers also alleged that they captured a 17-year old combatant, who belongs to the NPA’s Sentro-de-Gravidad and part of the NPA unit they fought on December 14.

Based on the military’s account, they spotted Serios barefoot carrying an M16A1 rifle, a bandolier, and a backpack. The inventory includes four long magazines loaded with 5.56 ammunitions, an anti-personnel mine, 100-meter wire, a12 volts Motolite battery, a CPP-NPA black shirt, an ICOM Radio and binocular among others.

The military said they turned over Serios to the police at now detained at the Echague Municipal Police Station.

Earlier today, December 17, Karapatan Cagayan Valley posted on its Facebook page that members of the 86th IB forcibly took a certain Jan-Jan Cerios on December 15. According to their post, he is 19 years old and a resident of Villa Campo village in the same town.

In an interview, Jacky Valencia of Karapatan Cagayan Valley said that the apprehended teen is “an ordinary farmer.” She also belied the claim of the military that they recovered arms and ammunition from Serios.

“We stand by the report from that we received from the family that he was taken by soldiers for no reason or warrant,” she said.

On Saturday, the 86th IB clashed with an undetermined number of NPA guerillas in the mountainous barangay of Villa Rey, Echague. The army’s 5th ID spokesperson Major Noriel Tayaban said one government troop died, and two others were wounded. He identified the slain soldier as Corporal Adonis Galera from Pinukpuk, Kalinga. Those injured, who are now recuperating in the hospital, were Cpl. Harold Ganagan of Tinglayan, Kalinga, and Cpl. Fajardo Manuel of Paracelis, Mountain Province. # nordis.net

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