Two people, including a Lumad leader were killed, while two went missing in three separate incidents during heavy military operations in the adjacent provinces of Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur.
By DEE AYROSO
Soldiers and paramilitary men are suspected in the killing of two people, including a Manobo leader, and disappearance of two farmers in the bordering provinces of Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur in the Caraga region, which are undergoing massive military operations. The Caraga region is in the northeastern portion of the island of Mindanao.
Urgent Alerts sent by Karapatan Caraga on Oct. 26 identified the suspected perpetrators as operating troops of the 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion based in St. Christine, Lianga, Surigao del Sur under Lt.Col. Jesus Durante, the 36th Infantry Battalion, the 3rd Special Forces Battalion under the 401st Brigade, members of the Citizens’ Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu), and members of the paramilitary group of Calpit Egua.
The Urgent Alert said that in the early morning of Oct. 24, villagers saw soldiers of the 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion on foot patrol in Upper Oregon, Logdeck, San Isidro, Lianga. Around 17 of them, including paramilitary men under Datu Calpit Egua proceeded to the adjacent sitio Cabalawan, still in San Isidro.
At around 7 a.m., Henry Alameda, 44, resident of sitio Cabalawan and council member of the Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (Mapasu), had just finished breakfast when three men armed with M14 and M16 rifles forced their way in and dragged Henry out toward the forest. As they passed by a waiting shed, Henry tried to hold on to a post and refused to go with the men. One of the men then shot him in the chest, while another shot him in the head.
Later that same day, at 8 p.m., in San Lorenzo village, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur, around 15 armed men arrived. Eight of them went to the house of village chairman Alejandro “Undo” Dumaguit. The men ordered Dumaguit to come out of the house, then after a moment, opened fire.
Dumaguit’s 13-year-old daughter Elejen was hit on the stomach. Her brother Aldren, 21, tried to cover her, and he, too, was hit and instantly killed. Dumaguit identified one of the shooters as Waway Belandres, a member of the paramilitary group of Calpit Egua.
Meanwhile, seven of the armed men went to the adjacent houses of Alfredo and Victor Undayon and opened fire. Alfredo’s son Enggoy, 16, opened the window upon hearing gunshots and one of the men fired at him but missed. He then dragged his sister Lynlyn, age eight, to safety.
Alfredo, who was outside with his neighbour Arsenio, tried to run to safety but he was hit on the elbow. After five minutes of indiscriminate shooting, the men left the village.
Soldiers are also suspected in the disappearance of abaca farmers Elde Martinez, resident of sitio Sangay, Libas Sud village, San Miguel town, and Jojo Tejero, resident of sitio Logdeck, San Isidro village, Lianga town. Both towns are in Surigao del Sur.
On Oct. 22, soldiers were seen in Sitio Kapatagan, San Roque, San Miguel, Surigao del Sur. On Oct. 23, the two men went to Sitio Kapatagan to harvest abaca and were not seen since. Their families feared that they were forced as guide by the soldiers, or were already killed.
Karapatan-Caraga said that Mapasu is a Lumad organization strongly protesting against mining operations and land conversion and plantations.
In its urgent alerts, Karapatan-Caraga said that the killings and disappearances were “part of the AFP’s anti-insurgency campaign Oplan Bayanihan to ensure the entry and operations of large-scale mining and plantations in Caraga.”