10 hurt as alleged NPAs attack convoy with foreign observers in Bukidnon
At least ten people, including seven soldiers, were hurt after alleged New People’s Army (NPA) members attacked a convoy of vehicles carrying foreign observers in Bukidnon Thursday morning.
Col. Boogie De Leon of Army’s 403rd Brigade said foreign observers from the “indigenous people communities in Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia and Malaysia came to Sitio Mintapod, Brgy Hagpa, Impasug-ong to observe the activity of local IP community volunteers belonging to Higaonon Amamag Malandang Olandok Gagaw (Hamog), a non-government organization which promotes cultural preservation in the area.”
“The group is also supposed to have a forest visitation for their “Paunlay Ta Aghimicu” (forest visitation phase II). Hamog sought the assistance of the Impasug-ong IPMR ( Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative) and the Philippine Army for security during their activity,” he said.
De Leon said the attack happened in the vicinity of Sitio Nasandigan, Brgy Kalabugao, Impasug-ong.
He said the foreign observers were escorted by soldiers when the rebels detonated an anti-personnel mine while their convoy was passing the area.
De Leon said three alleged rebels were hit by the government troops as soldiers managed to returned fire and chased the perpetrators.
"Our troops discovered 2 more anti-personnel ( AP) mines that remained unexploded and left behind by the fleeing terrorists. These AP mines could have injured the foreign observers,” he said.
“The EOD and PNP scene of the crime operatives are recovering those AP mines to avoid harming civilians passers through. It is obvious that the incident this morning is a direct attack to civilians who are not involved and should be protected from any form of attack,” he noted.
“This incident deserves international condemnation on the CPP-NPA terrorists",” he added.
De Leon said after the incident, “the foreign delegation proceeded to Laguindingan Airport for their flight to their next destination.”
Brig Gen. Edgard Arevalo, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman said the military strongly condemn the attacked against the foreign observers in Bukidnon.
“We denounce strongly this attack on foreign observers who were in country to visit various projects of indigenous peoples in the locality. They are non-combatant civilians,” he said.
“That is a totally detestable act by the CPP-NPA that deserves widespread, global condemnation. It only shows that contrary to their portrayed role, they are anti-IP progress. The CPP-NPA wants our rural folks to remain poor and dejected,” he said. Robina Asido/DMS