Sunday, August 02, 2009

NPA rebels warn of more attacks in Mindanao

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / August 2, 2009) – Philippine communist rebels warned security forces of more attacks and accused the Arroyo government of wanton violation of human rights and extrajudicial killings of political activists.

Leoncio Pitao, a senior New People’s Army rebel leader in southern Mindanao, said police and military are targets of attacks and warned security forces against straying in so-called “high-risk” areas in Davao City.

Rebels last week killed two soldiers and wounded six more in an ambush in Davao City’s Paquibato district, a known stronghold of the NPA.

“The recent casualties of in Davao City indicate that NPA guerrilla territories are indeed high-risk areas for their operating units,” Pitao said in a statement.

“When the troops, equipment, and facilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police located in municipal, provincial, and city centers can be hit, and in fact, have been hit by NPA tactical offensives, more so when the enemy combat troops foray deep inside guerrilla territory.”

“Certainly, the risk for the enemy rises as they enter a wide, rugged, and unfamiliar terrain favourable to guerrilla warfare and confronted by masses of people that stand up against human rights abuses, economic exploitation and political oppression which the AFP very clearly represent,” Pitao said.

He said civilians who are fed up with human rights violations by the military are supporting the NPA.

“What brazenly constitute an indisputable violation of human rights and international humanitarian law is the Arroyo regime’s policy of extra-judicial killings, abductions, enforced disappearances, and torture that has given it international notoriety,” Pitao said.

The military has denied all Pitao’s accusations and said the rebels are the number one violators of human rights.

Pitao’s daughter was abducted in Davao City on March 4. Her naked body was found the next day floating in a shallow creek in the village of San Isidro in Davao del Norte’s Carmen town. Her family said the woman’s body bore torture marks and was believed raped.

Pitao tagged the military as behind his daughter’s slay.

The NPA is the armed wing of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines. Peace talks between Manila and the CPP-NPA collapsed in 2004 after both sides failed to sign an agreement to end more than four decades of bloody fighting.

Last week government and rebel peace negotiators announced they will resume the talks next month. (Mindanao Examiner)

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