Thursday, April 16, 2020

Army hits NPA for violating own ceasefire in Caraga

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 16, 2020): Army hits NPA for violating own ceasefire in Caraga (By Alexander Lopez)

Brig. Gen. Maurito L. Licudine, commander, 402nd Infantry Brigade, Army. (PNA file photo by Alexander Lopez)

The communist New People’s Army (NPA) is "fooling the people of Caraga region" by defying the ceasefire it declared last month, the commander of the Army's 402nd Infantry Brigade said Thursday.

Brig. Gen. Maurito L. Licudine issued the statement in reaction to the latest killing the communist rebels perpetrated against an unarmed militiaman in the Surigao del Sur town of San Miguel.

“The CNTs (Communist NPA Terrorists) continue to deceive the people of the Caraga region. They carry on with the propagation of lies to agitate and win new recruits while doing terroristic acts, such as murder, abduction, and arson to sow fear and forcibly gain support from the people,”
Licudine said.

He noted that the NPA has already transformed into a group of "notorious bandits with the end view of amassing wealth through extortion and intimidation."

On Tuesday, rebels belonging to the NPA's North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee shot and killed Wilson Behing, a member of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu), who was tending his farm in Sitio Lamesa, Barangay Carromata, San Miguel.

Police said the five rebels who killed Behing were headed by a certain Arnel C. Banguis.

“Behing was working on his farm and was unarmed when approached and shot to death by the NPA rebels. He was killed in front of his own children. He suffered gunshot wounds on his face and different parts of his body, including hack wounds, which led to his untimely death," Licudine said.

"This gruesome death is a work of evil, a gross violation of their unilateral ceasefire and the international humanitarian law,” he added.

He accused the NPA of launching a "killing spree in Surigao del Sur" as the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police (PNP) were busy providing support to the front-liners working to contain the dreaded coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Last month, the rebels also killed a tribal chieftain and two civilians in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur.

"These wanton killings by the NPA must be stopped. We must join hands in condemning these atrocious acts of the CNTs in the strongest terms and renounce their presence in our communities,” Licudine said, describing the rebels as "bandits and murderers who do not regard the stigma and impact of their evil deeds to the people of Surigao del Sur."

“They are the true viruses in our communities,” he added.

The murder of Behing was also condemned on Wednesday by lawyer Marlon P. Bosantog, acting director of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) 13 (Caraga).

Behing belonged to the Manobo tribe in San Miguel.

The NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

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