• Rights group accuses military of harassment

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    ZAMBOANGA CITY: The human rights group Karapatan has accused the military of harassment after a failed raid on its office in Davao City in southern Philippines.

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    It said the armed men were stopped by human rights workers from barging into the office late on Monday.

    Hanimay Suazo, Karapatan secretary general, said they reported the matter to the police. She said some of those in the office were villagers who were victims of human rights violations in Paquibato District.

    “This incident is a form of harassment and a criminal act. The military wants to inflict fear to silence us,” she said.

    “There is no doubt that this is a clear handiwork of military and their agents for the fulfilment of their intelligence and combat operations of the failing Oplan Bayanihan of the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] and [President] Benigno Aquino. We condemn these blatant attacks against us, human rights defenders,” Suazo added.

    There was no immediate statement from the military about the allegations, but Karapatan has repeatedly accused troops under the Eastern Mindanao Command of violating human rights of villagers and tribesmen in Davao and other provinces nearby.

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