A HUMAN rights group has accused Army soldiers of attacking the residence of an anti-mining leader in Compostela Valley on Sunday afternoon.

In a statement, Karapatan-Southern Mindanao Region secretary-general Hanimay Suazo said the "strafing" of the house of Compostela Farmers Association (CFA) chair Sabello "Tatay Bello" Tindasan was "linked to the intensifying forms of protest by the CFA against the Agusan Petroleum and Minerals Corp. (Agpet), a large-scale mining company owned by the Cojuangcos that applied for mining permits for 12,444 hectares of land in Compostela, and community residents' opposition to encampments by the Philippine Army's 66 Infantry Battalion (IB)."

The attack was reported to have been perpetrated by elements of the 66th IB from a nearby military detachment, about 80 meters away from the community.

The group said Tindasan was attending a CFA meeting in a separate location when his residence was peppered with bullets.

Those who survived the incident were Tindasan's wife, Alice, their three-year-old grandchild, their 14-year-old adopted son and two of his son's friends.

Tindasan's grandchild was reportedly wounded by slivers of broken jalousie as they ran away during the incident.

"Tindasan and other members of the CFA had just concluded the barricade protest they conducted against the incoming heavy equipment of Agpet. Truly, the attempt on his life are directed against peasant leaders who are in staunch opposition to various land-grabbing ventures supported by the Aquino regime's Oplan Bayanihan, as manifested in this incident," Suazo said, adding that Tindasan has been a "military target" since early 2015.

"A week ago, it was Aida Seisa from Paquibato. Now, it is Tatay Bello of Compostela. This is a cowardly act from the AFP; hapless civilians become their easy targets. Worst of all, they can easily cover up their crimes by accusing the victims as members or supporters of the NPAs (New People's Army)," she said.

Meanwhile, Eastern Mindanao Command public information officer Captain Alberto Caber, in a text message, denied the allegation, saying it was actually the NPA rebels who fired from their patrol base.

"As per my verification with 66th IB Commander Lieutenant Colonel Gulbert Roy Ruiz, the patrol base of Bravo Company was harassed around 3:15 p.m. on June 21 by more or less 30 NPA rebels who were positioned in the vicinity of Tindasan residence. It is the NPA rebels who fired the patrol base," Caber said.

"The rebels completely disregarded the safety of the populace/residents by firing and positioning at Tindasan residence," he added.

Caber said they have recorded "no casualty on the government side." (KGL)