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6 hurt in Agusan rebel attack

DAVAO CITY -- More than 60 communist rebels attacked a military outpost near mountainous tribal communities in Agusan del Sur province early Wednesday, wounding at least six villagers.

The rebels, belonging to the New People’s Army (NPA) Front Committee 88, raided the outpost, which is under the supervision of the Army’s 26th Infantry Battalion in Km. 41, Barangay Binicalan, San Luis town, Agusan del Sur, around 3 a.m.

One of those wounded is a soldier, while the others are civilians.

Jorge Madlos, alias Ka Oris, spokesman of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP)-Mindanao, said most of the victims were militiamen and their relatives working for the military.

Madlos identified one of the injured civilians as the “girl friend” of the detachment commander. 

Two of the wounded civilians were reportedly brought to Patinay Hospital in Agusan del Sur for treatment.

Madlos said the NPA rebels have seized 18 firearms from the detachment during the attack. Seized were three M-14 rifles, 12 Garand rifles, one M-16 Armalite rifle, a Carbine rifle and a .9-mm pistol.

He said the guns will be distributed to the new NPA members who need firearms, citing they are organizing new platoons. 

Madlos added that the rebels attacked because government troops and the militiamen, who included armed minors, have harassed some villagers who have been suspected of providing food and money to the NPA.

Military spokesman Major Eugenio Osias said the rebels were angry because villagers have stopped providing support to the insurgents.

He said details of the attack were sketchy but that initial reports showed three civilians were shot and wounded by the rebels. He added that five militiamen who were at the detachment fought back.

The rebels fled upon sensing the arrival of reinforcement from nearby military detachment, Osias said.

He added the NPA members fired at the military detachment and threw a hand grenade at nearby houses before they fled. 

Osias condemned the communists for including civilians in their resentment against government forces. He said such act is a clear violation of the Comprehensive Agreement of the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

"We understand their sentiments pero sana hindi nila dinamay yung mga taong di naman kasama sa problema nila. Pwede naman sana idaan sa magandang usapan, bakit kailangan pa umabot sa dahas. Sana ma-realize nila na mali ang ginagawa nila (But they should have not included the civilians. I hope they will realize that what they did was wrong)," he said.

According to the NDFP website, the CARHRIHL “is meant to meet the needs arising from the concrete conditions of the Filipino people concerning violations of human rights and the principles of international humanitarian law, and to find principled ways and means of rendering justice to all the victims of such violations.”

The rural-based Marxist rebellion has raged for 43 years, one of Asia's longest.
Philippine Army chief Lieutenant General Emmanuel Bautista, meanwhile, said the military plans to gradually eradicate its 60,000-strong militia force once communist and Moro insurgencies in the country ease considerably.

The militias, often poorly paid and ill-trained, have been linked to human rights violations in the past but are crucial to helping the underfunded military secure far-flung villages from insurgents and outlaws.

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Ivy Tejano | SunStar.Com.Ph | May 30, 2012 | Article Link

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