Monday, September 7, 2015

AFP: Paramilitary group in Surigao being disbanded

From Malaya (Sep 7): AFP: Paramilitary group in Surigao being disbanded

THE Armed Forces yesterday said efforts are ongoing to dismantle the armed group called Magahat/Bagani Force which is blamed for the killing of three civilians in Surigao del Sur last week.

Lt. Gen. Aurelio Baladad, chief of the AFP Eastern Mindanao Command, reiterated that the group is not under the military.

Over the weekend, Surigao del Sur Gov. Johnny Pimentel said he wants the Army to “disband and disarm” the group which he said the Army helped create. Pimentel said the Bagani forces are responsible for similar incidents in the province over the past six years.

Baladad said, “It’s not part of our command and control… What’s part of our command and control is the Cafgu (paramilitary force). This is not a Cafgu.”

He said the group can be classified as a private armed group. He also said the military treats the group “as people who committed a criminal act so we have to run after them.”

Baladad said the Magahat/Bagani Force is part of the indigenous political structure. “All indigenous people here, if we look at it, every tribe has their own `bagani,’” he said.

“Bagani” is the term of indigenous people for “tribal warrior.”

Baladad also disclosed that at least 2,000 people have been displaced by the incident in Lianga town, mostly in sitio Nalindog, barangay Diatagon where the burning of heavy equipment owned by a cooperative and killing of a cooperative official and two other civilians took place. He said the other evacuees are from the outlying areas.

The leftist human rights group earlier reported some 2,700 displaced civilians.

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