Wednesday, August 28, 2013

NPA ambush kills militia in Compostela Valley

From the Mindanao Examiner blog site (Aug 28): NPA ambush kills militia in Compostela Valley

Communist rebels killed a government militia and wounded a soldier in an ambush in the southern Philippine province of Compostela Valley province, officials told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.

Officials said New People’s Army opened fire on the duo – Matrinillo Enot and Pfc. Calid Alo – who were travelling on a motorcycle in the village of Casoon in Monkayo town.

The rebels escaped after the ambush allowing villagers to help the victims who were rushed to hospital in Tagum City, according to army Capt. Albert Caber, a spokesman for the Eastern Mindanao Command.

Caber, quoting a Lt. Col. Elmer Aterado, commander of the 25th Infantry Battalion, said the victims were unarmed and in civilian clothes heading to their patrol base when the attack occurred.

“This is another deliberate violation against human rights committed by the NPA. Our troops are simply protecting the community from illegal activities of the NPA such as extortion, among others,” Aterado said.

Caber said the Lt. Gen. Ricardo Rainier Cruz III, chief of the Eastern Mindanao Command, condemned the attack on Alo and Enot and ordered troops to intensify their operations against the rebel group, which has been fighting for a separate state in the country.

“I directed all military units to remain vigilant in carrying out peace and development initiatives in the region,” Cruz said.

The NPA owned up the attack and said it was part of a harassment campaign to combat preparations for the bio-fuel, palm oil and mining projects in Agusan and Compostela Valley boundaries.

It accused the military, specially its so-called peace and development teams, of abusing villagers to pave the way for the large-scale bio-fuel, palm oil and mining projects.

“These active NPA tactical offensives are meant to protect the gains of the anti-feudal campaign in the countryside of Agusan and Compostela Valley boundaries,” Aris Francisco, a spokesman for the rebel forces operating in the area, said in a separate statement to the Mindanao Examiner.

“The masses and the revolutionary forces are persevering in advancing the agrarian revolution in these areas. In the last couple of years and more so in recent months, advances in the struggle for land reform are gaining momentum—successes which the enemy are seeking to reverse.  Village-level anti-feudal struggles are gaining ground and reactivating thousands of mass activists and revolutionary mass organizations. The collective work and communal work in the farms have benefited thousands of peasant and Lumad families in Agusan,” he said.

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