MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/04 July) – The New People’s Army in Northeastern Mindanao said the three children arrested on June 26 in Surigao del Sur were not their fighters.
Nor were the children ordered by the NPA to operate a landmine, the rebel group in a statement said, adding the military was just getting desperate over alleged losses in the field.
The NPA accused Col. Romeo Gan, commanding officer of the 401st Brigade, and Major Eugenio Julio Osias IV, spokesperson of the 4th Infantry Division, of grossly lying to the media that the three children the military captured in Barangay Pong-on, San Agustin, Surigao del Sur were rebels.
It said the three children were with their father and a relative in Hanipaan when accosted by soldiers.
But the NPA admitted that on June 26, they ambushed operatives from the 29th Infantry Battalion, 36th Infantry Battalion, and the 75th Infantry Battalion with command-detonated explosives killing two soldiers and wounding others.
The NPA has always maintained that they only use command-detonated explosives in keeping with the Ottawa Treaty that bans the use of anti-personnel mines.
It added they have no child warriors in Northeastern Mindanao.
The military had time and again presented alleged NPA rebels who were still minors or had ages below 18 years. (MindaNews)