Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Poll official, 5 others killed; 17 wounded in rebel ambush in Compostela Valley

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / May 11, 2010) - Communist rebels ambushed on Tuesday ambushed a group of poll inspectors and civilians, including soldiers guarding election papers in the southern Philippines and killing at least 6 people, officials told the Mindanao Examiner.

Officials said New People’s Army rebels opened fire on the convoy as it was heading to Maragusan town in Compostela Valley province where the votes in Monday’s general elections would be counted.

Among the dead was a member of the Board of Election Inspectors and a civilian poll watcher and two government militias and soldiers.

At least 17 people, including three civilians who were poll watchers, and 9 soldiers were also wounded in the attack, said Army Captain Emmanuel Garcia, a spokesman for the 10th Infantry Division.

“We condemn this attack on innocent people,” Garcia said, as he called on the Commission of Human Rights and other human rights organizations to investigate the attack which occurred at around 8.30 a.m. on a village near Maragusan town.

Garcia said rebels also attacked Friday and wounded two government troops guarding polling machines in the village of Taguibo in Davao Oriental’s Mati town. Security forces were guarding the machines when rebels opened fire at them.

Insurgents also bombed Thursday troops escorting a convoy delivering similar machines called precinct count optical scanner in Palanas town in Masbate province in the Bicol region, although no was injured or killed in the roadside attack.

The New People’s Army denied the military’s claim and said the attack targeted troops as punishment for their human rights abuses.

“The NPA, as a matter of policy and as track record shows, fully respects the people’s will in the guerilla base areas especially during this most chaotic election period,” said Simon Santiago, of the New People’s Army.

The NPA is the military wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines while the National Democratic Front is the organization’s political arm. The Communist Party of the Philippines is fighting for decades for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)

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