Reds attack marijuana plantations of paramilitary group

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/19 August) — Communist rebels launched a series of attacks targeting marijuana plantations allegedly maintained by a Lumad paramilitary group along the border of Bukidnon and Agusan del Sur provinces last Wednesday.

The attacks resulted in the death of two Lumad belonging to the Alamara and the seizure of several high-powered firearms.

Allan Juanito, spokesperson of the New People’s Army North Central Mindanao Regional Operations Command said a rebel unit also burned three vegetable and banana warehouses in Barangay Putian, Libona town in Bukidnon.

Juanito accused the Alamara of terrorizing Lumad communities along the boundary of Agusan del Sur and Bukidnon provinces.

The attacks came as the government released eight National Democratic Front consultants from various jails so they can attend the peace talks with the government in Oslo, Norway.

“While the NPA anticipates the upcoming ceasefire order from the CPP due to the formal resumption of the peace talks on August 22-27, it will carry on its activities of defending the interests of the peasants, workers and lumads, preserving the natural resources and inhibiting criminality and drugs in its scope of operations,” Juanito said in a statement.

He identified one of the slain Alamara members as Manlumakad Bocalas.

He said they also seized a Garand rifle, two carbine rifles, five shotguns and two sacks of marijuana from the Alamara.

He said the sacks of marijuana were burned in front of the residents in Sitio Katablaran, Barangay Kanangaan, Cabanglasan, Bukidnon.

Col. Lennon Babilonia, commanding officer of the 8th Infantry Battalion confirmed the attacks but said the rebels targeted Lumad leaders who have opposed their incursions in their villages.

Babilonia said the rebels attacked the home of Sammy Diwangan in Sitio Katablaran while the Lumad leader was away.

He said Bocalas, the fatality, was also a known anti-communist Lumad leader.

The Army official confirmed the rebels took several firearms from the house of Diwangan. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)