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Communist hit squads active in Metro again–military

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‘Sparrows’ targeting VIPs

By Joel Guinto
First Posted 14:28:00 07/23/2008

MANILA, Philippines — So-called Sparrow units, or urban assassination teams of the communist New People’s Army (NPA), are active once again in Metro Manila and are targeting “VIPs” (very important persons), aside from soldiers and policemen, the military commander in the national capital region said Wednesday.

“We have received reports that they are going to conduct Sparrow operations. When we say Sparrow, they are going to conduct some liquidation activities in Metro Manila,” said Major General Arsenio Arugay, chief of the Armed Forces National Capital Region Command (NCRCom).

Arugay said the NCRCom has received reports that Sparrow unit operatives are in the capital, but he could not ascertain how many there are and when they arrived.

“We have reports that some of their elements are here,” he told a news conference in Camp Aguinaldo.

Arugay said the communist hit men have “no specific targets” but would most likely hit soldiers, policemen, and “some other VIPs.”

“We don’t really consider it a threat but, of course, they are threats to peace and order, particularly [to] the personal safety of soldiers, policemen and some government functionaries,” he said.

Arugay said there was “no specific information” on whether the Sparrow units would strike when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo delivers her annual State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 28.

Asked to gauge the capability of the NPA Sparrows to assassinate the President on a scale of one to 10, with 10 the highest, Arugay replied, laughing: “About two to three.”

The small NPA hit squads were dubbed Sparrow units during their heyday in the 1980s to early 1990s for the swiftness with which they carried out their kills and then escaped.

Among their more noted victims in Metro Manila were American military adviser James Rowe and police officers Jose Pring and Timoteo Zarcal.

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Written by joelguinto

WedUTC2008-07-23T06:49:50+00:00UTC07bUTCWed, 23 Jul 2008 06:49:50 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am07

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