HR group alarmed re children hurt in crossfire

As it raised concern, Karapatan appealed to both government soldiers and NPA guerrillas to ensure the safety of civilians during gunbattles.

Jinky Estancia, 9, and her sister Rebecca, 6, sustained gunshot wounds during the firefight.

 “This manifests the ugly reality that in government’s illusion to end the armed rebellion via the all-out war solution, most of those affected were children,” the group said in a press statement it issued today.

Kelly Delgado, Karapatan secretary-general, said that “history illustrates how the government’s war campaigns have taken its toll on the lives, rights and limbs of civilians, including Jinky and Rebecca.”

As it scored government, the group also urged the NPA guerrillas “to look into the April 26 incident that injured two civilians during the encounter.”

The NPA in Southern Mindanao, meanwhile, in a press statement issued today, admitted they were holding captive two Army soldiers, both members of the 10th Infantry Division.

Rigoberto Sanchez, spokesperson of the Merardo Arce Command of the NPA, identified its “prisoners” as Sgt. Napoleon Gerasmio of the Army Reserve Command and Sgt. Huberto C. Corbita of the Special Operations Command of the Eastern Mindanao Command.

The soldiers were arrested in two separate incidents where the NPA put up a checkpoint on April 24 this year in Sitio Mabatas, Barangay Upper Ulip in Monkayo, Compostela Valley .

The guerrillas recovered from Gerasmio one caliber .45 pistol.

“The two soldiers are undergoing investigation to find out any culpability for serious violations of human rights and International Humanitarian Law and other war crimes that they might have committed in the conduct of the AFP's past and present counter-revolutionary war and anti-people campaigns of repression,” Sanchez said.

The NPA assured relatives of the captives that they were being given “humane and lenient treatment”.

Sanchez warned that attempts by the AFP to rescue the soldiers would “only heighten the worry for the soldiers' families as it will put their security in jeopardy.” (MindaNews)