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Army: Slain rebel was only 16 years old

The slain rebel during the encounter between the New People’s Army and elements of 23rd Infantry Battalion (IB) last Nov. 30 was properly identified as a 16-year-old minor.

Lt. Col. Ezra Balagtey, the spokesperson of Eastern Mindanao Command, said Litboy Talja Binongcasan, resident of Sitio Shiohan, Barangay Malinao, Gigoog City, was properly identified by his brother who went to the site in Barangay San Mateo, Butuan City on Dec. 2.

Binongcasan was a grade six pupil of Sitio Sioan Elementary School in Barangay Malinao, Gingoog City, when he went missing sometime February 2019.

He was killed during an encounter with government troops in Sitio Salvacion, Barangay Manila de Bugabos, Butuan City. Soldiers also recovered two AK-47 rifles, one M16A1 rifle, one M16A1-RMC rifle, five civilian backpacks, subversive documents, and other personal belongings at the encounter site.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Felimon T. Santos Jr., commander Eastern Mindanao Command, condoled with the family of the minor.

“We are saddened with the fate of Litboy. His case is a clear violation of children’s rights. He was deceptively recruited for the ideology he does not even understand,” Santos said. “This act is being condemned in the highest form.”

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