AFP hunts down Ifugao attackers
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday vowed to get the perpetrators of the ambush that resulted in the death of 11 soldiers and two civilians in Ifugao province on Wednesday, as it launched a probe into how the attack by suspected communist rebels could have happened.
“Our concentration as of now is the pursuit of the perpetrators and then the board of inquiry will follow after that. We will first make sure the area is safe and secure,” AFP public affairs chief Colonel Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos said.
He added: “We will exhaust all measures to deliver justice to the 11 troops who were killed in the latest atrocity by the New People’s Army.” The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Burgos told reporters at Camp Aguinaldo that the Philippine Army’s 5th Infantry Division was organizing a board of inquiry to gather the facts, evaluate what went wrong and determine if anyone should be held responsible.
Sniper fire killed the driver of a military truck carrying members of the 86th Infantry Battalion as they passed through Sitio (sub-village) Buhyo in Tinoc town between 7 and 8 a.m. Wednesday on their way back to camp.
The driver lost control of the truck, which toppled down a cliff, killing the other soldiers. The surviving soldiers engaged the rebels in battle. The two slain residents may have been caught in the crossfire, the police and military said.
Burgos condemned the “treacherous attack” on the government forces, saying it demonstrated the NPA’s “total disregard of the rights of every citizen,” considering that civilians were among those killed.
However, he said, the AFP remained supportive of the peace efforts between the national government and the communist leadership.
“Our appeal to them is to transmit their supposed intention to talk peace down to their ground units. This means that their sincerity will not only be exemplified by the top leadership but also translated down to the smallest unit,” Burgos said.