4 suspected NPA rebels kill tribal leader in Bukidnon village
DIGOS CITY – Four armed men believed to be members of the New People’s Army gunned down a tribal leader in Barangay Canangaan, Cabanglasan, Bukidnon on Saturday morning, a military report said.
1Lt. Ken T. Cabbigat, civil military operations officer of the Army’s 8th Infantry Battalion, said Datu Sammy Diwangan, 45, an Indigenous Peoples (IP) representative at Canangaan village council, was cutting a tree with his son when four men arrived and fired their weapons, hitting Diwangan on his forehead and other parts of his body.
Diwangan’s nine-year old son John was about to bring a gallon of chainsaw fuel to his father when he saw four men approach. He managed to flee, Cabbigat said.
Cabbbigat described Diwangan as a “strong community leader” who objected to the NPA’s recruitment activities in their village. Cabbigat also quoted an NPA surrenderer, who claimed to be a commander of the NPA’s guerilla front 6, who told the military Diwangan had been targeted by the NPA because he resisted the NPA’s plan to expand in Barangay Canangaan.
Lt. Colonel Ronald Illana, commanding officer of the 8th Infantry Battalion, condemned the attack. “We condemn this barbaric act of the NPAs against helpless civilians,” Illana said in a statement.
Cabiggat said the military would continue to adhere to the government’s holiday ceasefire declaration even as communist rebels had been taking advantage of it to stage their attacks.
The military vowed to file charges against the rebel group to exact justice for the tribal leader’s killing.
Diwangan’s son was brought to the local social welfare and development office in Cabanglasan, Bukidnon for psycho-social help after the traumatic incident. The boy said he ran back to their house after he saw the gunmen shoot his father because he was “too afraid.”
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