MAGUINDANAO, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / June 16, 2009) – Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels accused government troops of indiscriminate shelling after an artillery exploded near a refugee shelter in Maguindanao province in the troubled Muslim autonomous region in Mindanao.
It said at least three civilians, including a girl, were wounded in the explosion that occurred late Monday in the village of Libutan in Mamasapano town. The injured, Sapia Zainal, 10; Zaid Abas, 20; and Bayan Tunadzi, 23, were rushed to hospital in Cotabato City.
“Victims had sustained severe wounds in different part of their bodies,” the MILF said.
It said the shelling also hit the village of Linantangan and that several civilians were also injured from shrapnel.
Government forces launched offensive against the MILF after peace talks collapsed last year. The military said some 100 rebels were killed in the offensives, but the rebel group disputed the reports and branded it as propaganda.
”Civilian communities and makeshifts for internally displaced persons were not spared from the Armed Forces of the Philippines indiscriminate artillery and air strikes despite the fact that AFP know very well that its strikes were hitting civilian concentrations.”
“Dozens of innocent civilians had been killed and injured as a result of the AFP operations, but the Commission on Human Rights and the Department of Justice of the Government had never bothered to execute their mandates on this AFP carnage. Tolerating this AFP atrocities and crimes committed with impunity can be equated to more and more and countless victims,” the MILF said.
Officials and spokesmen from the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, which is in-charge of the government offensive, could not be reached for comment. The MILF is the country’s largest Muslim rebel group which is fighting the past three decades for self-determination in Mindanao. (Mindanao Examiner)