3 dead after NPA attacks soldiers in Agusan del Norte

SURIGAO CITY, Philippines – New People's Army (NPA) rebels attacked a community in Agusan del Norte on Saturday, February 11, killing a soldier and two civilians, the military said Sunday, February 12. 

The incident occurred in Sitio Sarog, Barangay San Isidro, Santiago town of Agusan del Norte, resulting in the deaths of a soldier and two civilians, and the wounding of 3 other civilians Saturday morning, said Captain Joe Patrick Martinez of the 4th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army.

A report was earlier received by the 29th Infantry Battalion about the presence of "extortionist-terrorists" in the area.

"There is a situation in that community that needs to be addressed that is why I have sent my soldiers to secure the people against these NPAs," Lieutenant Colonel Glenn Joy Aynera, 29IB Commanding Officer, said in a statement.

Soldiers arrived in Sitio Sarog at 4:30 am Saturday when they were fired upon by the NPA.

"The NPA fired at the soldiers unmindful of the civilians in the area, Two civilians and one soldier were killed while 3 other civilians were wounded," Aynera said.

The attack lasted for about 10 minutes before the rebels withdrew toward the nearby communities.

The government troops immediately assisted the wounded with first aid as they secured the village.

The incident is a violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), the military said.

"This is a clear violation of the CARHRIHL which is duly signed by the GPH and NDFP in 1998 at The Hague, The Netherlands that civilian population and civilians shall be distinguished from combatants and, together with their property, shall not be the object of attack. They shall likewise be protected against indiscriminate strafing," Aynera said.

"We condemn their atrocious act which claimed the lives of two innocent civilians, and seriously wounding 3 others. We are also deeply saddened for the loss of one of our comrades. Rest assured we will always continue to conduct peace and security operations to ensure the safety and security of the people in Agusan del Norte," he added.

Pursuit operations are ongoing to capture the perpetrators. – Rappler.com