KAPALONG, Davao del Norte – The human rights group Karapatan aborted late today a probe mission heading towards a reported “militarized” village in this interior town.
Its decision is based on reports from local contacts of unusual movement of armed paramilitary members that may affect the safety of its contingent.
Some 94 delegates of the mission are supposed to go to Barangay Gupitan, early this morning when motorcycle drivers warned them that there were 15 armed men believed to be members of the paramilitary group Alamara “waiting in ambush position in a nearby cemetery in Langan-Patel road.”
Karapatan Southern Mindanao secretary general Hanimay Suazo conferred with mission leaders that include Bayan Muna former Partylist Rep. Joel Virador, who all decided to pull out the mission due to security concerns.
Suazo said it is risky to put delegates into the area where Alamara plays “no rules and no laws”.
The mission intends to help villagers and tribal communities who are earlier reported of being hamletted by soldiers accompanied by members of the Alamara.
As of tonight, the mission is staying at the municipal hall of Kapalong as they await to dialogue with the town mayor, Edgar Timbol, and the tribal representative in the town council.
Suazo also said they will ask the local government to handle the relief goods that they intend to distribute to the villagers.
The mission had encountered harassment earlier such as four checkpoints and roadblocks made of boulders. Two of their vehicles hit metal spikes, puncturing the tires. (davaotoday.com)