Suspected NPAs kill lumad leader, son
TAGUM CITY – Suspected communist rebels posing as soldiers shot dead a lumad leader and his son in a hinterland village in Talaingod, Davao del Norte, early Sunday, the military said.
Sunday’s attack came days after President Rodrigo Duterte met with almost 1,000 Mindanao lumad leaders and vowed to protect them and their communities against attacks and exploitation by the communists.
Maj. Ezra Balagtey, the spokesperson of the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) based in Davao City, identified the victims as Datu Banadjao Mampaundang and his son Jhonard.
Balagtey said the Mampaundangs, members of the Ata-Manobo tribe, were inside their house in Sitio Igang in Barangay Palma Gil when Tagalog-speaking armed men – posing as soldiers barged in and began shooting at about 4 a.m.
The assailants also set off a bomb that prevented an ambulance of the local government from bringing the victims to the nearest hospital, he said.
Balagtey told the Inquirer the rebels stayed in the village, anticipating soldiers to come in.
In his meeting at the regional military headquarters in Davao City on Thursday, Duterte told tribal leaders not to fight the NPA and allow government troops to deal with the communist insurgency.
He also offered to relocate those being targeted by the NPA, promising to give them houses in urban Davao.
Duterte also urged NPA rebels to give up, saying fighting the government was pointless and useless.
As if on cue, the military announced that several rebels already surrendered.
On Friday, eight more rebels yielded to the Army in Sultan Kudarat province, according to Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, the commander of the 33rd Infantry Battalion.
Cabunoc said at least three of the rebels said a local official had been supporting them, especially in recruiting lumad into the NPA.
“I will facilitate the filing of administrative charges against the local official for conniving with the communist NPA terrorists,” Cabunoc said, adding that Mindanao was still under Martial Law. /cbb
To date, Cabunoc said that his unit had welcomed 111 rebels, mostly belonging to Dulangan-Manobo tribe. /cbb
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