Farmer gunned down inside own house in Davao del Norte
TAGUM CITY — Unidentified assailants gunned down a 60-year old farmer inside his house in San Isidro, Davao del Norte on Thursday night.
According to tights group Karapatan, the farmer, identified as Elias Pureza, became the latest victim in the spate of killings of activists and farmers in Southern Mindanao.
Jay Apiag, Karapatan spokesperson, said Pureza had become the 23 victim of such attack in the region since President Rodrigo Duterte came to power.
Apiag described Pureza as a member of the Farmers’ Association of San Isidro (Fasi).
The victim, he said, was inside his house in Purok Palmera in Barangay Mamangan when six men on motorcycles arrived at around 8:00 p.m.
“When his wife opened the door, the assailants forced their way in and shot Elias in front of his family immediately killing him,” he said.
As in previous killings that targeted farmers and rights activists, Apiag said Pureza’s murder might have been carried out by soldiers.
Maj. Michael Candole, executive officer of the Army’s 60th Infantry Battalion, which is based in Asuncion, Davao del Norte, said Karapatan’s claims “were baseless and mere propaganda.”
He challenged the rights group to also look into the possible involvement of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the killings.
“We are mandated to protect innocent civilians,” Candole said. “We do not kill hapless farmers and activists.” /atm
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