Friday, August 06, 2010

2 soldiers killed, 4 civilians wounded in Mindanao rebel attack

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Aug. 6, 2010) – Two government soldiers were killed and four civilians wounded after communist rebels ambushed them Friday in Davao City in the southern Philippines, officials said.

Officials said more than a dozen New People’s Army rebels opened fire on a group of tribesmen and soldiers traveling on motorcycles on their way to attend a forum in Colosas village in Paquibato district.

The leader of the tribesmen, Datu Ruben Labawan, of the Davao Supreme Tribal Council for Peace and Development, survived the ambush, but four of his companions were wounded.

“The soldiers were escorting the tribal leaders when rebels ambushed them, said Captain Emmanuel Garcia, a spokesman for The 10th Infantry Division. He said the soldiers fought back, but were overpowered by rebels and eventually killed.

The motive of the attack was unknown, but an army commander, Brigadier General Eduardo del Rosario, said rebels have previously murdered tribesmen and their leaders who refused illegal taxation. Others were abducted and killed for their refusals to join the rebel group.

“Tribal leaders fighting for the rights of their people are the usual targets for assassination of the NPA. This is a deplorable act and must be condemned by every sector of the society. Such evil deed of the NPA cements their reputation as a terror group and not a revolutionary one,” he said.

He said last month, rebels also abducted and executed tribal leader Kito Melody in Columbio town in Sultan Kudarat province after he resisted extortion and recruitment by the NPA in his village.

Last year, rebels also murdered dozens of tribesmen in Davao and Sultan Kudarat and the military claimed that from 1998 to 2008, some 357 tribesmen had been killed by the NPA in the region.

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

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