Troops of the 57th, 8th IB ambushed in Bukidnon and North Cotabato

ANG BAYAN
7 April 2012

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Guerrillas of the Herminio Alfonso Command of the New People's Army in Southern Mindanao Region ambushed forces of the 57th and 8th IBs in Sitio Bantaan, Bagumbayan, Magpet, North Cotabato on March 29, killing a soldier and wounding another. This military unit is responsible for several brutal special operations, and for terrorizing the people and indiscriminately bombing communities in Magpet and in Kibawe, Bukidnon. This has resulted in the widespread evacuation of civilians and various human rights violations in the area. Ka Nonoy, a Red fighter, was martyred in the fighting.

In retaliation for the ambush, the AFP sent two warplanes and an OV-10 and indiscriminately bombed civilian communities in Bagumbayan for two days. The AFP also positioned its two 105 mm howitzers behind the Bagumbayan public school and along the Kabacan river bank in Barangay Binay, Magpet. Up to 122 families were forced to flee the area due to the intense bombings.

On April 1, at the height of the AFP's military operation, NPA Red fighters used a command-detonated explosive (CDX) against a six-by-six truck bearing reinforcements while it was navigating the highway at Purok 4, Mateo, Kidapawan City. The tactical offensive derailed the AFP's planned operation in the area.

On the same day, Red fighters ambushed a team from the 8th IB in Barangay Sampaguita, Kibawe, killing two soldiers. After the ambush, the AFP dropped eight bombs in the area, killing Jenis Maguate, a civilian. The bombings also killed a number of farm animals.

To justify the bombings and attacks on civilian communities, the AFP claimed that the operations were being launched against Ka Parago, commander of the 1st Pulang Bagani Company who is allegedly encamped in the North Cotabato-Bukidnon mountains. In fact, the military operations were conducted by the military in retaliation for the NPA's punishment of Patrick Wineger, a valuable AFP asset who masterminded the murder of Fr. Fausto Tentorio.

No matter how much the AFP maligns the NPA, it could never cover up its heinous crimes against the people of Mindanao. Among them is the widespread militarization that has resulted in the killing of people like Fr. Tentorio and many other human rights violations.