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CHR condemns attack on govt troops in Samar

By Currie Cator / The Manila Times

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) deplored the "nonstop violation" of terrorist rebels of the international humanitarian law (IHL) through "reckless" use of anti-personnel mines.

The agency joined the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in condemning the recent attack of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) government troops in Jipapad, Eastern Samar.

Several unarmed soldiers were killed and injured in the incident, which, according to the CHR, showed the "reckless belief of communist terrorist groups that they are allowed to do anything in the pursuit of their ideology and supposed rights."

"We have continuously condemned the use of improvised explosive devices, such as landmines, simply because it violates the spirit and principle of the IHL," Mark Siapno, deputy spokesperson of the CHR, said on Monday.

Siapno gave assurances the commission will look into the incident and "seek justice for the victims." He stressed the CPP-NPA-NDF must be held accountable for the crimes they have perpetrated against the people, in violation of the IHL and other human rights laws.

The CHR extended its deepest condolences to the families of the soldiers who were killed by members of the terrorist group. Siapno said the attackers violated human rights.

A village official, Eddie Nuncio, said he saw the victims pass his house minutes before the attack. He confirmed reports the troopers were in civilian clothes and unarmed.

After several minutes, Nuncio said he heard an explosion, followed by gunfire.

"Volume of fire for about 20 minutes followed. There was one soldier who was still alive when we arrived. Among those killed, one was wearing sando; one was seemingly from the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit and there was another one. None of them were armed," he said.

Nuncio said the victims were carrying pieces of wood they gathered to build their camp.

Maj. Gen. Pio Diñoso, commander of the Army's 8th Infantry Division, said the troops were "non-combatants and had no capacity to fight."

"They were unarmed. This is a blatant violation of the IHL. Hindi dapat ganoon (They shouldn't have done that to them)," Diñoso said.



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