• Rebel attacks kill four soldiers

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    ZAMBOANGA CITY: At least four soldiers were killed and eight others injured in simultaneous attacks by communist insurgents in Davao City in southern Philippines, a New People’s Army (NPA) rebel spokesman said on Tuesday.

    Parago Sandoval said rebels launched the attacks recently in Calinan District in retaliation to continued human rights violations by the army against innocent civilians and tribesmen. He said four soldiers were killed and eight more were wounded in the fighting in Dalagdag village.

    He said rebel forces overpowered troops from the 69th, 84th and 71st Infantry Battalions and claimed to have confiscated assorted weapons – one M203 grenade launcher, two automatic rifles, 400 pieces of bullets for M60 machine gun, 200 more for K3 machine gun, 8 army packs, 5 combat boots, 34 magazines, 10 military vests, including a military tactical map and cell phones.

    The fighting, he said, lasted over two hours and there were no casualties from the side of the NPA, which has been waging a separatist war for many decades now.

    “The tactical offensive proved that a just war will always prevail in the face of the enemy’s cunning and trickery. It was part of the 1st PBC’s campaign against the 15 columns of AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] units operating in Calinan, Buhangin and Paquibato districts, Davao City,” he said.

    “It was a fitting punishment against the brutal operations of the Oplan Bayanihan counter-revolutionary forces who have instigated aerial bombing last March 23 and 26 and in a separate occasion last April in Paquibato,” Sandoval added.

    He accused the Eastern Mindanao Command and 10th Infantry Division for violating the rights of villagers in Davao.

    “True to their cruel form, the AFP troops trained their guns against the masses in cowardly vengeance. They mauled the residents and filed trumped-up charges against progressive leaders and members of Paquibato peasant organizations who were not deceived by their nefarious psychological warfare schemes,” Sandoval said.

    “No matter how the 10th Infantry Division and Eastern Mindanao Command try to conceal it by declaring Paquibato as peace and development-ready, Red fighters raise the banner of enduring sacrifice by launching tactical offensives and daring counter-attacks against the enemy. The people’s army, thus, urge foot soldiers and AFP junior officers to abandon its headquarters and detachment, denounce the US-Aquino regime, and side with truth and justice for the interest of peasants, workers and other basic sectors,” he added.

    The military has not issued any statement about the allegations, but some of Davao’s hinterland villages are known strongholds of the NPA.

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