SURIGAO DEL SUR – Suspected members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) killed four civilians and wounded seven others including an eight-year-old girl in an ambush in Surigao del Sur province in restive Mindanao, the military reported on Monday.

All the victims were returning home from a church activity when they were allegedly ambushed by more than 20 armed men, believed to be members of NPA.

Lieutenant Jolito Borces, Civil-Military Operations Officer of the sixth Infantry Division, blamed members of the Guerrilla Front 14 for the attack. He added that the rebel unit operates in the Agusan-Surigao del Sur area.

According to 1Lt. John Alvin F. Rico, commander of “Charlie” Company of the 75th Infantry Battalion in the report of Gulf Times, the victims was on board an ambulance and a truck when they were ambushed by the rebels upon reaching Road 2, Sitio Latay, Barangay Marfil this town at about 5:30 pm.

The victims were identified as Neljoy Cerna, 27, Noni Nabong, Alfredo Cerna, 51 and Vanessa Sabas, 30.

Injured were Liza Casilla, 47 ; Elmer Adonis, 37; Emillio Solidor Jr., 49 and 8-year old Mae Roselyn Adonis.

The names of two militiamen and an army soldier who were injured in the attack were withheld pending notification of their kin.

It was not clear why the rebels attacked the civilian vehicle, which was then traversing Road 2, Sitio Laray in Barangay Marfil, but some reports say a few village leaders and pro-government militias were riding along with the victims when the incident happened.

No rebel group has issued a statement to own the incident. Eastern Mindanao, where Rosario is located, is said to be a stronghold for the Maoist rebels, who are fighting for decades to establish their own communist state in the country.

In a separate report, Maj. Gen. Oscar T. Lactao, commanding general of the Army’s Northeastern and Northern Mindanao 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division ordered field unit commanders of the 401st Infantry (Unite N’ Fight) Brigade and Operation Control Units (Opcon) to scour the area of bandits belonging to the guerrilla front Committee 14 of the CPP-NPA Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NMRC) operating in the area of Agusan and Surigao del Sur provinces.

News by CARLENE MADGE MORANTTE

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