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2 Lumad killed by ‘NPA rebels’

Two Manobos were killed by alleged members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Sitio Inadan, Barangay Magroyong, San Miguel, Surigao del Sur at 7 p.m. on March 19.

They were identified as Hawudon Bernardino Astudillo, 73, the tribal chieftain of Magroyong, and Zaldy Ibaňez, 52, both residents of Sitio Inadan.

Lt. Col. Xerxes Trinidad, the 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office chief, said the victims were forcibly taken from their respective homes in the presence of their family members.

The victims were brought to the forested area where they were stabbed to death by more or less15 reported members of the Guerilla Front 30, North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee, under Joel Mahinay aka Nicko.

Maj. Gen. Franco Nemesio M. Gacal, commander of the 4th ID, condemned the attack, especially since the victims were unarmed and not considered to be military targets.

“This is a clear violation of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) under RA 9851. Aggravating the circumstance, the victims identified were elderly people belonging to the Manobo tribe,” the division commander said.

It can be recalled that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has declared a unilateral ceasefire from March 19 to April 15, 2020, to allow the government to focus its efforts on CoViD-19.

Gacal said that the NPA is “taking advantage of the ceasefire declared by President Duterte in spite of the global health issues caused by CoViD-19.”

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