Monday, May 23, 2011
DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / May 23, 2011) – Communist rebels torched a passenger bus at a checkpoint in the southern Philippine province of Davao del Sur, officials said on Monday.
Officials said there were no reports of casualties during the attack which occurred in the village of Astorga in Santa Cruz town, a known lair of the New People’s Army which is fighting for a separate Maoist state in the country.
“The rebels flagged down the bus and ordered the passengers out and then torched the bus,” said Lieutenant Colonel Lyndon Paniza, a regional army spokesman.
He said four gunmen were involved in the attack. The bus was carrying at least 60 passengers and officials said extortion was the probable motive for the burning of the bus.
The attack occurred as Manila is negotiating peace with the rebel group in an effort to end decades of bloody fighting in the country.
Just last week, rebel forces also attacked soldiers in Davao del Sur’s Malita town and wounding two of them. The soldiers were part of the so-called ‘peace and development’ workers, but had been actively involved in anti-insurgency operations in the province, said Edilberto Mahusay, a spokesman for the NPA’s Alex Ababa Front Operations Command.
He said the soldiers were protecting mining firms accused of encroaching into ancestral land and destroying the environment.
Rebels also killed four soldiers and a government militia over the weekend in fierce fighting that left one female NPA member dead, said another spokesman Dencio Madrigal, of the Valentin Palamine Regional Operations Command. (Mindanao Examiner)