Rebels burn mining company’s buses in Compostela Valley
TAGUM CITY, Philippines—Communist rebels burned two buses owned by a mining company in Maco, Compostela Valley, on Friday, police said.
The newly acquired vehicles, used to ferry employees and workers of Apex Mining Co., were seized by an undetermined number of New People’s Army gunmen on a road in Purok 8 in Barangay Elizalde around 1:50 p.m., according to Senior Superintendent Abraham Rojas, Compostela Valley police chief.
Rojas said the gunmen ordered the bus drivers to disembark before dousing the vehicles with gasoline and setting them on fire.
Friday’s attack was the latest against the publicly listed gold-and-copper mining company operating in the minerals-rich but insurgency-plagued province.
Last March, dozens of rebels stormed the company’s compound in Masara village, destroying millions of pesos’ worth of vehicles and mining equipment.
The company 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.
Local miner Mapula Creek Gold Corp. holds a 42.96 percent stake in 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.
“It was a form of harassment as the firm refused to give in to the rebels’ (extortion) demands,” Rojas told the Inquirer by text message, adding no one was hurt in the incident.
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