ZAMBOANGA CITY: Human rights group Karapatan accused the Army soldiers of shooting a Manobo tribe farmer during an anti-insurgency operation in Surigao del Sur.
It said troops from the 36th Infantry Battalion (IB) and 2nd Special Forces (SF) opened fire on Ama Benjie dela Peña, of the Manobo tribe, while tending his farm in the village of Caromata in San Miguel town.
Karapatan claimed dela Peña was wounded in the shooting that occurred on March 11, but learned about it only recently. It said over 170 villagers have already fled the village because of the on-going military operation against the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels.
There was no immediate statement from the 36IB or the 2SF about Karapatan’s allegations. But the military has repeatedly linked the group to the rebels, who are fighting for decades now for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country.
Government troops recently captured a senior communist rebel leader Ruditha Rosete Gaylawan in Calinan district in Davao City. She was tracked her down in the village of Sirib.
The army said Gaylawan is the Secretary General of Front Committee 54 of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP-NPA), and facing a string of criminal cases, mostly murder charges filed before Davao del Norte province.