DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The “sparrow units” of the New People’s Army (NPA), known to be the rebel group’s hit squads back in the Marcos dictatorship era, are back to attack state forces, President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday, January 15.
Addressing police officers during the inauguration of a new crime laboratory facility in Davao Region, Duterte told cops: “Be careful today because the NPAs are renewing their vicious cycle of attacks.”
The sparrow units was a topic in one of Duterte’s speeches in March 2017, where he said they were the reason the Davao Death Squad (DDS) existed.
The President, at the time, said DDS was created to fight the said units during Martial Law. (READ: Duterte: Davao Death Squad formed to fight NPA ‘sparrow units’)
DDS refers to the group of men allegedly responsible for the vigilante-style killings in Davao City during Duterte’s term as mayor.
A few decades later, Duterte, now president of the Philippines, would declare his own version of martial law on the island of Mindanao, on the grounds of rebellion.
First, it was meant to contain the ISIS-linked Maute Group in Marawi City. In October 2017, the commanding general of the Philippine Army said the communists would be their next target after government wraps up its military operations in Marawi.
In his speech Monday, Duterte said he is assured that despite the NPA’s heightened series of attacks, “the military can take care of them.”
The NPA in Southern Mindanao on January 7 claimed it killed 26 soldiers in separate instances since December 2017, at a time when there was no ceasefire in place. – Rappler.com