DAVAO CITY – Seven foreign tourists were allegedly shot at by armed forces elements in Malaybalay, Bukidnon last February 13.
The New People’s Army – North Central Mindanao Regional Command (NPA-NCMR) said in a statement Wednesday that “the indiscriminate firing of operating AFP troops under the 4th Infantry Division against seven foreign tourists and their guide” took place in a mountainous part of Brgy. Dalwangan, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon on February 13, around 8:00 AM.
According to reports the foreigners include an Australian, three British, and three Danish.
Carlito Gayamara, who reportedly served as tourist’s guide, was wounded in the incident.
Gayamara acquired a gunshot wound on his upper arm, said Allan Juanito, spokesperson for the NPA-NCMR.
“He was then serving as a tourist guide to seven foreign bird-watchers trekking Mt. Kitanglad. What was supposed to be the group’s immersion in a natural wonder turned into a traumatic experience when they, despite their shouts that they are civilians, were strafed for more than ten minutes by the reactionary troops,” Juanito said.
Juanito said the military “did not even help their victim to the hospital and left Gayamara to shoulder all expenses for his medication by himself.”
Juanito also denied the military’s previous statement that Gayamara was caught in a crossfire between the armed forces and the NPAs.
“There was no encounter between NPA and AFP troops in the area that day. Only the AFP troops and the tourists happened to meet at the time,” Juanito said.
Juanito claimed that “AFP troops vent their anger on innocent civilians after their latest defeat in a battle with NPA fighters in the area.”
NPAs said they figured in a skirmish with the army’s Special Forces Battalion on February 11.
Two of their troops were killed while five others were wounded, contrary to the 4th ID’s claim that only one of their soldiers was killed, Juanito said. (davaotoday.com)