Rebels ‘strafe’ police station in Bukidnon

THE military over the weekend condemned the indiscriminate firing by suspected communist rebels at a town police station in Halapitan, San Fernando, Bukidnon, last week.

In a press statement, the military said an armed men believed to be members of the New People’s Army (NPA) indiscriminately fired their guns almost 12 midnight.

The military said the policemen responded by assaulting the perpetrators who immediately ran away from the area.

No casualties were reported.

Authorities recovered seven empty shells and a round of misfired bullet for M16 rifle.

The military said traces on the ground indicate that at least two to three persons could have perpetrated the gunfire.

Troops from the army's 88th Infantry Batallion pursued the suspects and put up checkpoints to block any possible cohorts.

Brigadier General Edgardo De Leon, commander of 403rd Infantry Brigade, said it is condemnable that the "NPA terrorists" did not exercise "precaution" in firing their firearms towards the middle of a civilian populated area.

"The police station is there as a public service facility. The policemen on duty were providing assistance to the people and maintaining peace and order. They are not involved in counterinsurgency operations, thus are protected by humanitarian law," De Leon said.

"The CPP-NDF must discipline the NPA by directing the NPA to respect humanitarian law. Karapatan, which pretends to be the watchdog on IHL must investigate the growing number of IHL violations perpetrates by NPA terrorists in Bukidnon," he added.

The military also said complaints against the alleged NPA's recent attacks on civilians and destruction of civilian properties were already submitted to the Commission on Human Rights in Northern Mindanao.

The army requested the CHR to conduct separate probe. However, they said the commission has yet to reveal the result of its fact-finding investigation.

De Leon is hopeful that the CHR-Northern Mindanao will soon complete its investigation and make its findings known to the public.


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