Massacre kin killed in Tampakan mine site

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January 31 2013

“The military did not even care to give immediate medical attention to the victim when he was hit and was unable to fight back anymore,” said Ryan Lariba, spokesperson for Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan)-Soccsksargends.

By JOHN RIZLE L. SALIGUMBA
Davao Today

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – More than three months after elements of the Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion figured in the massacre of pregnant Blaan Juvy Capion and her two children in Tampakan town, South Cotabato, the military is now again accused of killing another civilian-relative of the Capions in a strafing incident January 29.

Kitari Capion, a young tribal leader, suffered three gunshot wounds when some 15 members of Task Force (TF) Kitacom (Kiblawan, Tampakan, Columbio, Malungon), composed of Cafgus and the 39th Infantry Battalion, opened fired at his house around 7AM, said Pastor Sadrach Sabella, secretary general of rights group Karapatan-Soccsksagends, in a phone interview.

Capion, he added, was brought to the Allah Valley Medical Specialist Center in Koronadal City but later died due to hemorrhage.   He arrived at the hospital at around 11 AM, four hours after the incident.

“The military did not even care to give immediate medical attention to the victim when he was hit and was unable to fight back anymore,” said Ryan Lariba, spokesperson for Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan)-Soccsksargends.

Kitari was declared dead at about 2 PM, the military’s 1002nd Infantry Brigade reportedly said.

Lariba emphasized that while Kitari was a known leader of a group of lumads waging tribal war against Xstrata- Sagittarius Mines Incorporated (SMI) and its military protectors, “witnesses said that he was unarmed during the incident and in fact was not able to fire back.”

The military reportedly said that Capion’s group fired M79 grenade at them.

Bayan said what the military did was “a gross violation” of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law and the military rules of engagement and war protocols.

“We denounce the continued militarization in the area.  We challenge the Aquino government to give justice to the victims.  The military must be pulled out now,” Sabella said.

Kitari who will be laid to rest today, January 31, is the younger brother of Daguil Capion, an anti-large-scale mining leader who’s been waging a pangayaw against the Xstrata-SMI, the country’s largest mining investor with USD 5.9 Billion investment in the 10,000-hectare proposed mine site.

About 7,095 of the said area lie within the Blaan’s ancestral lands where an estimated 2,600 families, or 4,000 individuals from the Blaan Tribe reside.

Prior to the incident, the TF Kitacom allegedly launched military operations in the nearby Sitio Alyong.

According to Sabella, on January 28, brothers Daguil and Kitari came down from the mountains to Sitio Nakultana, Kimlawis village, Kiblawan town in Davao del Sur.  The morning after, he said, Cafgus and troops from the 39th IB led by a certain Captain Wayagwag strafed the house of Kitari.

After the Capion’s family massacre, the 39th IB replaced the 27th IB in November 5.  Thirteen elements from the latter unit were relieved from post and put under court martial.

In can be recalled that on October 18, 2012, Daguil’s wife Juvy and their sons, Jan-jan (7) and Jorge (13), were killed by 13 troops of the 27th IB led by Lt. Col. Noel Alexis Bravo in Fayahlob, Sitio Datal-Alyong, Danlag village in Tampakan town.  Their daughter, Vicky (5), was wounded.  Juvy was a member of Kalgad, a lumad organization against large-scale mining.

Lariba said that the continuous military operations in Xstrata – SMI’s mining areas will not solve the problem but will actually force more and more lumads to join their relatives in a tribal war in defense of their ancestral lands.

“The military has been serving as Xstrata-SMI’s protectors.  They kill lumads and local residents in servitude to Xstrata-SMI.  Military operations in mining areas drive the lumads to take up arms if only to defend their ancestral lands and lives,” Lariba said.

Tampakan’s mining site is where the largest underdeveloped copper and gold deposits in the Southeast Asia are located.  Its copper reserves are estimated to be between 13.9 to 15 Million metric tons while the gold reserves are estimated to be between 16.2 to 17.9 million ounces.  (With reports from Marilou Aguirre-Tuburan/davaotoday.com)

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