“Gipamusil mig sundalo, nakauniporme (We were shot at by soldiers in uniform),” a 13-year-old survivor said in a news footage by TV Patrol Davao.
By DAVAO TODAY
Davao City, Philippines – A nine-year-old boy was confirmed killed in Sitio Kidaraan, Barangay Antapan, Mabini town in Compostela Valley, Wednesday evening allegedly by soldiers from the 71st Infantry Battalion.
According to Senior Superintendent Camilo Cascolan, Compostela Valley Philippine National Police Provincial Director through a text message to davaotoday.com, the boy was identified as Roque Antibo.
Cascolan said that initial investigation by the Mabini Police Station revealed that at least four people were reportedly fired upon by soldiers of the 71st IB, killing Antibo and wounding a 13-year old boy identified as Jeffrey Hernan, who was brought to the Davao Regional Hospital in Tagum City.
Cascolan said a barangay official of Mascare, Mabini reported to the Mabini police about this shooting incident.
The wounded youth, Hernan, in a news footage of TV Patrol said, “Gipamusil mig sundalo, nakauniporme (We were shot at by soldiers in uniform).”
In the same footage, Lt. Angelito De Leon, commander of the AFP 1001st Brigade that is the higher unit of the 71st, said “they are open to investigation” but pointed out that “there was a legitimate encounter.”
An earlier statement sent by the 1001st Brigade signed by Lt. Vilma Mojado cited two encounters occurring in a row between the AFP and the New People’s Army (NPA) in Mabini, Compostela Valley late afternoon, Wednesday.
According to the statement, one section of their troops was on combat operation when hit by a “landmine” and subsequently fired upon by more or less 30 NPA members in Sitio Darot, Barangay Libudon, in Mabini Compostela Valley at 4:30 pm, Wednesday.
The incident, the AFP statement added, triggered a firefight in an “uninhabited ridgeline” that lasted for an hour which killed one of their troops, and wounded two others.
Another encounter transpired after this in “Sitio Kidaraan, Barangay Anipatan” of the same town at around 6:40 pm, according to the AFP statement.
The statement cited Lieutenant Col. Jerry Borja of the 71st Infantry Battalion saying his troops were on the area to act upon reports on the presence of NPA.
The same AFP statement cited civilians reportedly seeing withdrawing NPAs carrying five of their casualties in makeshift stretchers.
The human rights group Karapatan has sent a quick-response group to the area to get details on the incident. The police said their investigation is still under way. (davaotoday.com)