CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – The New People’s Army has admitted accidentally killing a 4-month old infant in a private car that happened to be tailing a police vehicle the rebels ambushed in Bukidnon late afternoon of November 9, 2017 and is asking for the family’s forgiveness.
The policemen and the baby’s family, riding a Toyota Fortuner, were travelling on Talakag-Bumbaran Road in Talakag town, when the NPA pulled off the ambush.
In a statement sent to the media Tuesday, the NPA said the incident was something they did not foresee.
The rebels, quoting a report of the NPA field unit of Mount-Kitanglad Sub-Regional Command (MK-SRC), said two private vehicles were tailing the police car, but the first one was able to pass through the “blocking force” of the NPA just about 2 minutes after the exchange of fire started between the rebels and the police.
The NPA blocking force attempted to flag down the Fortuner, “but to no avail”, the NPA said. But the second vehicle, having heard the firefight going on, turned the vehicle around to the position of blocking force, it added.
“The NPA-North Central Mindanao Region expressly extend their condolence to and are asking for forgiveness from the relatives of the slain and wounded civilians. This is a painful occurrence which was unforeseen. We are currently finding means to connect with the relatives and friends of the aggrieved in an offer to indemnify the said incident. Whether we like it or not, the process of continuing a civil war entails certain unavoidable circumstances such as what happened,” said the NPA statement.
Meanwhile, the NPA rebels said they recovered M16 Armalite rifle with 10 magazines and two 9 mm caliber pistols from the police. They said one rebel was also slightly wounded.
Despite the incident, the NPA insisted that “all of its forces adherently abide by the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law”.
“This incident, however, could not understate what the US-Duterte regime has openly committed. The military and the police overemphasize the said ambush as barbarous whereas they downplay their airstrikes, bombings and indiscriminate firing of innocent civilians wantonly victimizing them by the thousands in Marawi City and in nearly all Lumad communities,” the NPA said.
The military’s Eastern Mindanao Command had earlier denounced the ambush as a clear violation by the NPA of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law or CARHRIHL between the government and the CPP-NPA-NDF, which prohibits attacks against civilians and non-combatants and bans the use of landmine.
Brigadier General Eric C Vinoya AFP, Commander of the 403rd Infantry Brigade, said “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this barbaric act committed by the perpetrators of this incident which resulted to the tragic death of a four-month old baby girl and one of our police personnel.” said Brigadier General Vinoya.
“These perpetrators can be compared to savages, infant killers, and murderers of innocent civilians, who thrive on abusing the weak by using coercion and intimidation, without giving any regard to human life and established laws. They do not belong in this civilized society. They will be punished.” he added.
Killed in the ambush were female child Machorao Malysha of Kili-Kili, Wao town in Lanao del Sur, and Senior Police Officer 3 (SPO3) Arnel Carillo.
Police investigators said the ambush also wounded civilians onboard the Toyota Fortuner. They were identified as Sittie Ali, 53; and Ali Aminsalam, 37, both residents of Kili-kili, Wao town. Civilian, Alexander Maniscan was also wounded.
The wounded onboard the police car were identified as Bumbaran town police chief Joven Acuista, Senior Police Officer 1 (SPO1) Pacifico Cabudoy and PO1 Nathaniel Ibal.