A MULTI-SECTORAL group will launch an inquiry on September 1 into reports that the five individuals killed in a supposed battle with Army troopers in a town in Bukidnon last month were civilians, and not communist rebels.
Kalumbay Northern Mindanao Chairperson Datu Jomorito Goaynon said the fact-finding mission will leave Cagayan de Oro City for Barangay Mendis, Pangantucan town, where the supposed clash between the Army special forces troops and New People's Army (NPA) guerrillas took place on August 18.
"Atong pamatud-an na dili gyud miyembro sa New People's Army (NPA) ang gipamatay kung dili mga sibilyan lang," Goaynon said.
Killed in the incident were Jobert Samia, Herminiano Samia, Elmer Somina, and minors Emer Somina, 17, and Norman Samia, 13.
"Magkuha ta ug dugang documents, dugang interview sa mga paryente sa biktima, ug sa mga tribal datu," Goaynon said.
He said the findings of the mission will be submitted to the Commission on Human Rights for possible filing of criminal cases.
"Ato pud ipangkumbinsi ang mga higala sa mga nangamatay na sila mismo magpasaka na unta ug kaso," Goaynon said.
The military on Sunday said tests conducted on the dead bodies by the police's Scene of the Crime Operative's (SOCO) proved that they were rebels.
"SOCO found gunpowder residues on the five dead bodies, this proves that the dead bodies were not farmers as alleged, but rebels," said Army Colonel Jesse Alvarez, 403rd Infantry Brigade commanding officer.