Sunday, May 02, 2010

2 killed in NPA ambush in Davao Sur province

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / May 2, 2010) – Two government soldiers were killed in a clash Sunday with the communist New People’s Army fighters in the southern Philippines, a rebel spokesman said.

Ricardo Fermiza, of the NPA’s Magtanggol Roque Command, said rebel forces ambushed patrolling soldiers and pro-governemnt militiamen under the 39th Infantry Battalion, sparking a two-hour firefight in the village of Coronon in Davao del Sur’s Santa Cruz town.

One patrol member was also wounded by rebels in the fighting, he said, adding, there were no reports of NPA casualties.

“The almost two-hour firefight resulted to two dead and one wounded on the enemy side while the NPA suffered no casualty. The NPA also seized one M14 rifle,” Fermiza said.

The military last month trumpeted that the province is free from rebels.

“This latest NPA ambush belies the military's claim that Santa Cruz town and the rest of Davao del Sur is NPA-free, a contention meant to fool the Armed Forces of the Philippines hierarchy more than they can fool the people.”

“In a desperate bid to smokescreen the utter failure of Oplan Bantay Laya, the fascist military attempts to assuage its pricked ego and for the nth time, twists facts and peddles endless lies,” the rebel spokesman said.

Fermiza said the ambush was a punishment against the Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion for alleged human rights violations it committed against the masses in Davao del Sur and North Cotabato provinces.

He said as early as 2006, the 39th Infantry Battalion had been terrorizing peasants and tribesmen and that many of them were arrested on suspicion as members or supporters of the NPA and paraded them publicly. Some were even tortured to exact confession.

“They have put up detachments within civilian communities and forcibly conscripted residents for the Barangay Defense System. By arming village officials and ordering them to spy against the revolutionary movement, the 39th Infantry Battalion is guilty of violating the war protocols of the Geneva Conventions that specifically prohibits involving the civilian populace for military operations,” Fermiza said.

He said the same army unit was also responsible for the murder of a captured NPA member Ernesto Baldevieso in March. Baldevieso was tortured and executed by soldiers after failing to get information about the NPA.

“Instead of upholding his rights as a prisoner-of-war in accordance with the provisions of the Geneva Conventions, the 39th IB summarily killed him - a brazen violation of international humanitarian law and the protocols of war,” Fermiza said.

There was no immediate statement from the military about the ambush, but the NPA is fighting for decades for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)

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