Group refutes Army account: Boy slain in Kudarat not NPA rebel

Group refutes Army account: Boy slain in Kudarat not NPA rebel

Save Our Schools Network asks CHR to investigate and hold accountable soldiers responsible for death of 16-year-old

Group refutes Army account: Boy slain in Kudarat not NPA rebel

Inquirer files

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The Save Our Schools (SOS) Network urged the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to conduct a prompt and impartial investigation into the death of a 16-year-old boy in Senator Ninoy Aquino town of Sultan Kudarat province on Saturday, as the “lumad” (indigenous peoples) youth allegedly did not die in a clash but was shot by soldiers.

Rius Valle, lead convener of SOS Network, said the minor, who belonged to the Dulangan Manobo tribe, was going home with three other companions at 5 a.m. on June 8 from an event in a nearby village when they met soldiers who reportedly fired at them without provocation.


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Valle’s statement refuted the military’s earlier claim that the boy was a New People’s Army (NPA) rebel who died in a clash with soldiers.

“We ask the CHR and other concerned agencies to investigate this latest incident of violence against lumad learners. All evidence and testimonies must be examined, including the military’s accountability for excessive use of force,” Valle said.

Valle said the minor named Kuni was merely walking along the road with his three companions when he was shot. Kuni’s companions, including a 13-year-old boy, were able to jump into the cornfields and survive. It was only later that they discovered that Kuni was hit and died as a result.

Gun ‘planted’

Kuni’s family was dismayed that a Garand rifle was placed beside the boy’s body, with soldiers claiming it was recovered after the clash, said a source who asked not to be named for security reasons.

Valle got hold of a photo of the child’s body, wearing a striped T-shirt and maroon shorts, lying on the soil next to a drying pool of blood, on top of which a Garand rifle was placed.

Kuni would have entered Grade 10 in the incoming school year, Valle said.


Just like his brother, a scholar under the Indigenous Peoples Ministry of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate Brothers, Kuni was supposed to apply for the same scholarship next year.


SOS Network called on the military to withdraw its published statements falsely claiming that Kuni was an NPA rebel.

“These unsubstantiated allegations only serve to justify the unjustifiable killing of an unarmed child,” said Valle in a statement.

“No words can console Kuni’s family for this unspeakable loss. But we stand in solidarity with them and all lumad struggling to uphold their children’s right to education amid the escalating climate of violence, militarization and impunity in their ancestral lands,” Valle said.

Lt. Roden Orbon, spokesperson for the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division (ID), however, told the Inquirer that the troops of the 7th Infantry Battalion had been in a continued operation in the area and that there had been a clash with NPA rebels in the area on June 8, as certified by barangay leaders.

He said the child’s body was recovered after the clash.

“Whether he was there as part of the rebels or was killed in a crossfire, we still have to sort that out,” Orbon told the Inquirer on the phone on Sunday.

He also said that the family of the slain minor had performed a Dulangan Manobo ritual witnessed by town officials and tribal elders as a “settlement” of what happened.

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Earlier, Maj. Gen. Alex Rillera, commander of the 6th ID, lauded a successful operation that supposedly killed one communist rebel in Barangay Kiadsam of Senator Ninoy Aquino town.

TAGS: Army, Army-NPA clash, CHR

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