Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Troops arrest rogue soldier accused of killing civilian in Mindanao

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / June 23, 2010) – Philippine Army soldiers on Wednesday captured an infantryman - accused of killing a civilian and wounding of six others - after a firefight in the southern province of Compostela Valley, a military spokesman said.

Captain Emmanuel Garcia, of the 10th Infantry Division, said troops exchange gunfire with Sergeant Fredo Argueles after he fought soldiers sent to arrest him in connection to the Tuesday killing of a 49-year old man, Freddie Neri, in the village of Iloco Nuevo in Mawab town.

Argueles was wounded in the fighting and rushed to hospital.

He said Argueles, who was drank at the time of the shooting, fired his rifle indiscriminately in the village and killing Neri, after a heated argument with his wife late Tuesday.

He escaped after the shooting and was tracked down by soldiers the next day hiding at a banana plantation.

“Reports showed that at about 11:50 p.m. of June 22, a drunken Argueles and his wife were having heated arguments and in the course of the dispute, Argueles took his M14 rifle, walked out of their hut and fired his weapon directed outside while walking out of the (army) detachment,” Garcia told the Mindanao Examiner.

Lieutenant Colonel Norman Zuniega, commander of the 72nd Infantry Battalion, whose unit ordered to hunt down Argueles, said they have tried to convince the infantryman to surrender peacefully, but it failed.

“We had tried everything to make him surrender peacefully. We encouraged him to lay down his weapon so that he can face his case in the proper court, but he fired at the troops. We want him to surrender peacefully, but we are also prepared to use force to subdue and arrest him so that he can face justice and put him in jail if found guilty,” he said.

Major General Carlos Holganza, the regional army commander, sent a team of soldiers and accompanied by village officials and religious leaders to Neri’s family and other victims of the shootings and offered help.

“We are deeply saddened by the turn of events and we condole with the victim’s family. We understand that any help extended will not bring back the life of the victim but we will make necessary arrangements to alleviate the sufferings of the family of Neri and of other victims. Our troops have arrested the suspect and we will make sure that he will face the full force of the law. We will not tolerate crimes perpetrated by anyone, even one of our own. Rest assured that justice will be served.”

“The swift action of the troops shows that we are serious in our task to put criminals behind bars. We will see to it that justice prevails even if the perpetrators were our own men; and especially if they were our own men.” Holganza said. (Mindanao Examiner)

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