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NPA rebels attack Apex Mining compound in Compostela Valley

/ 07:33 AM April 11, 2014

AFP FILE PHOTO

TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte, Philippines—Communist rebels on Thursday attacked a big mining firm in Maco, Compostela Valley, burning vehicles and equipment, police and local officials said.

Senior Superintendent Camilo Cascolan, Compostela Valley police chief, said about 60 New People’s Army guerrillas  swooped down on the compound of the Apex Mining Inc. at Sitio (sub-village) Sawmill, Barangay (village) Teresa and proceeded in setting alight vehicles and drilling equipment at the firm’s motorpool around 2 p.m.

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In a text message to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Cascolan said rebels under Oying, Wendy and Binoy of the NPA’s Front 27 and Pulang Bagani (Red Warrior) Company 6 torched two Toyota Fortuner,  a Toyota Hilux pickup and a Toyota Strada sports utility vehicle (SUV) as well as two Atlas Copco Tamrock jumbo drill.

The attackers then fled in two separate directions after the incident as government troops and police conducted pursuit operations, Cascolan said.

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Vice Mayor Carlos Arthur Voltaire Rimando confirmed the attack, saying there were no reported casualties during the incident.

“It’s a large-scale mining operation, and hundreds of people from Maco are depending on its operations,” Rimando told the Inquirer by mobile phone. “We condemn this incident.”

Rimando said authorities were still investigating as to the possible motive of the attack.

Authorities have yet to ascertain the cost of the burned vehicles and equipment.

The Manila-listed Apex Mining holds a mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA) of 2,237 hectares covering the villages of Masara, Teresa, Tagbaros and Mainit and employs some 1,400 workers, according to the company website. The company is into gold and silver production.

Local miner Mapula Creek Gold Corp. holds a 42.96 percent stake to the company, while Mindanao Gold Ltd. of Malaysian investor ASVI, acquired the shareholdings of Mapula’s former partner, London-listed Crew Gold Corp., with 30. 11 percent.

Thursday’s attack was the second for Apex in the last seven years.

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Last March 2008, some 50 rebels also stormed the mining company, disarming guards, torching company properties and briefly holding captive a handful of firm officials and employees.

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TAGS: Apex Mining Inc., Armed conflict, Arson, attack, Camilo Cascolan, Carlos Arthur Voltaire Rimando, communist rebellion, Insurgency, Local authorities, local government, New People's Army, Philippines - Regions, Police, police investigation, raid, rebellion, vice mayor
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