Mindanao Tribesmen Assail Military Offensive

December 4, 2007 at 5:51 pm | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment

SURIGAO DEL SUR, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 04, 2007) – An umbrella organization of indigenous tribes assailed Tuesday ongoing military operations in the southern Philippines, saying, it has effected more than 1,500 natives in Mindanao.

The militant group PASAKA Lumad Confederation said more than 1,500 Manobo tribesmen have been affected by the military offensive in several hinterland villages in Surigao del Sur province, where soldiers were pursuing communist insurgents since last week.

Datu Monico Cayog, one of the group’s leaders, also accused soldiers of violating human rights of many natives on mere suspicion they were rebel supporters.

The military offensive was triggered by a rebel ambush Saturday of government soldiers that injured more than dozen infantrymen in the town of Lianga.

But Cayog, a Bagobo tribal leader, said: “The death of a military man due to an NPA landmine explosion was not the fault of the civilian communities, but every time there is a military casualty, civilians always suffer from the military’s vengeful attacks.”

He also appealed for aid to help feed natives in evacuation areas.

“The Lumad in Surigao need all the help from concerned institutions, churches and individuals,” he said.

PASAKA is composed of 25 different Lumad organizations in southern Mindanao and North Cotabato. (Mindanao Examiner)

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