From ABS-CBN (Jul 11): 2 blasts rock Lanao del Norte
Two explosions rocked a residential area in Barangay Poblacion, Baroy, Lanao del Norte early Wednesday.
Authorities said the first blast occurred at around 2:30 a.m. at a bridge in Dimaporo Road, Santo Niño village.
Another explosion followed in Cabili St., Purok 2.
No casualties were reported in both blasts.
Authorities have yet to determine what type of explosive device was used.
Investigations are still ongoing.
This was contained in a press release issued by the MinRHrac last July 29, 2013.
The MinHRAC reported that “On June 21, 2013 fighting broke out in the village of Bagumbayan (a sitio in Barangay Kulasi, General Salipada K. Pendatun [GSKP], Maguindanao), prompting the local residents to flee to safety from the relentless artillery shelling. Some 300 Moro families took refuge in evacuation centers in Barangay Tongol and Barangay Sumakubay, and Migkunding.”
The report says that the evacuees from the affected barangays of GSKP, experienced food shortage and other basic needs while at the evacuation centers so that they decided to return home despite the feeling of apprehensions and fear from being caught in the crossfire or artillery shelling.
The ‘Bagumbayan 8’ evacuees or internally displaced persons (IDPs) were among those who returned to their village but while in their community they were allegedly maltreated by the government soldiers identified by the said evacuees as members of the 33rd Infantry Battalion who at that time were conducting military operations in Barangay Kulasi.
According to MinHRAC press release, three of the alleged maltreated Moros are minors. They were forcibly hogtied and detained despite identifying themselves as non-combatants. At the time of their arrest, one was holding a bamboo pole with a sack attached to the end, a rudimentary but obvious ‘white flag’.
“Despite their plea to spare them, they were immediately detained, hogtied, brought to a nearby school where they were made to spend the night in two days and were physically abused to coerce them to admit that they are rebels. Around noon of the following day, they were brought to the detachment of the 33rd Infantry Battalion where their coercion continued. It was only upon pressure from human rights volunteers that they were finally turned over to the elements of the PNP,” MinHRAC elucidated.
According to the MinHRAC, “The ‘Bagumbayan 8’ had been illegally detained without access to legal counsel, and excessive inhuman abuses were not eased despite request from one of the detainees, who sustained a rope-burned injury on his upper arm. Another one complained of cigarette burns.”
The MinHRAC had negotiated for access to the “Bagumbayan 8”, and secured the release of the three minors.
“The remaining five detainees were handed over to the PNP of the Municipality of Quirino on 24 June. They have since been informed that they will be charged for Illegal Possession of Explosives under RA 9516, and labeled as terrorists. Before they were handed over to the PNP, soldiers attempted to manufacture fingerprint evidence by presenting the detainees with explosive devices and instructing the detainees to hold them,” MinHRAC wrote on its press release.
MinHRAC Human Rights Defender Ara Abdulsalam, also made a counter argument to the published article in an online news agency in relation to presentation of facts that misled readers.
Abdulsalam quoted in MinHRAC’s press release saying “I read an article in Rappler on 25 June in which the “Bagumbayan 8” were described as ‘renegade rebels’ who belong to the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), alleging that they were arrested following a raid on their hideout on 24 June and were caught with homemade bomb components in their possessions.”
“What was reported was simply untrue, and it was evident to me that the person who wrote the article had no knowledge of the actual incident and did not spoke with the detainees. The notion that the detainees were ‘outsiders’ involved in an attack is preposterous. Their families have been living there for such a long time that their sitio is named after them. Why would they attack their own village?” Abdulsalam lamented.
MinHRAC continued that “On June 27 efforts by relatives to visit the detainees were denied, the PNP stating that visiting hours were over. Around the same time, however, the PNP allowed access to the detainees by AFP soldiers dressed in plain clothes. One of the detainees was removed from his cell, blindfolded and interrogated.”
“One of the victims said that the blindfold material smelt “strange” and made him dizzy and nauseous, and that he was coerced into confessing to being a rebel”, MinHRAC reported.
MinHRAC Executive Director Lawyer Zainudin Malang said that, “The acts of the AFP and PNP are in violation of Philippine laws, international human rights law, and international humanitarian law.”
“The detainees should be released without delay, and an investigation be conducted into the actions of the military and police. What we cannot accept is for actions like these to occur with impunity. There needs to be a clear message that the rule of law shall be implemented and respected, not only in favor of the state, but also in favor of the citizens” he added.
Moreover, the MinHRAC has reported that on June 26, three homes in the detainee’s home village of Bagumbayan were burned. The report stated that some residents in a neighboring village witnessed the burning. It further said that some homes were occupied by non-Moro armed strangers.
Last Friday, the “Bagumbayan 8” filed their respective counter-affidavits together with their fellow IDPs at the Provincial Prosecutor's Office of Isulan, Sultan Kudarat province.
Meanwhile, there were eight wounded civilians (three of whom are children ages 2yrs.old and 1yr.old) from Barangay Ganta, Shariff Saiduna, Maguindanao who were rushed to the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center (CRMC), Cotabato City, on Saturday when they sustained wounds from splinters of 105 howitzer canons explosion hitting the victims community believed to be from the military.
Radio reports here in Central Mindanao said that the wounded civilian were evacuating when the incident happened. It added that some of the victims are now in critical conditions at the hospital.
The Kawagib Moro Human Rights group in its press release had also condemned the government forces who were involved in the alleged indiscriminate artillery shelling towards the civilian communities.