Lumad flee Butuan village after clash erupts
BUTUAN CITY — More than 100 residents, mostly “lumad” (indigenous peoples), fled their homes in the village of Anticala following a clash that killed a soldier on Monday.
Lt. Antony Pueblas, civil-military operations officer of the Army’s 402nd Infantry Brigade, said Pfc. Roger Badayos was killed in the clash between members of the 29th Infantry Battalion and New People’s Army rebels in Sitio Patagon.
Aurilio Salahay, a community leader in Patagon, said 115 people, including women and children, left their village and sought refuge in the neighboring subvillage of Dugyaman, when they heard gunfire at 12:20 p.m. Monday.
“Many of the women and children are still in shock as we never expected the sudden explosion,” said Salahay, 57, a father of nine. “We panicked and immediately left our houses.”
“The sound of gunfire and explosion was all around us. Everyone in the community scampered for safety,” he added.
Myrna Torepalma, a community leader in Sitio Dugyaman, said the clash prevented residents of the neighboring sitio of Dugyaman, Tagkiling and Kadhaan from going to their farms for fear of being caught in the crossfire.
Torepalma said some residents were about to harvest their vegetables and other crops, while others were preparing to gather abaca fiber when the fighting erupted.
The recent clash was the second to take place in the area in five months. —Erwin Macariñas
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