Agusan Sur villagers flee mil ops

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/11 May) – Residents of a farming village in Trento, Agusan del Sur have evacuated in the wake of military operations, human rights group Karapatan-Southern Mindanao said in a statement today.

Karapatan said the 10th and 4th Infantry Divisions bombarded Sitio Upper New Visayas, Barangay New Visayas, Trento on May 7 resulting in displacement and alleged abuses against civilians.

View Trento, Agusan del Sur in a larger map

Rev. Jurie Jaime, spokesperson of KARAPATAN Southern Mindanao, was quoted in the statement as having said the operations also took place in Monkayo, Compostela Valley.

He alleged the operations were intended to clear the areas for large-scale mining ventures.

Karapatan said it sent a team to Trento and found that 83 families or close to 400 individuals evacuated from Sitio Upper New Visayas and Sitio Maitom of Barangay New Visayas due to the reported bombing runs by the military on May 7.

The statement said a pregnant woman and another who had just given birth complained of heavy bleeding as a result of the evacuation.

Karapatan said the military arrested a 16-year old boy who was allegedly paraded as a child warrior and brought to the 4th ID headquarters in Cagayan de Oro City.

In a statement on Thursday, the NPA’s Front 20 said that on May 7 they ambushed members of the 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion in the boundary of Trento and Monkayo.

“Three soldiers were killed, four were wounded, including the company commanding officer, Lt. Masumpad,” the rebel statement claimed.

The NPA said that after three hours they engaged 102nd Division Reconnaissance Company at Bahayan River, Trento wounding two soldiers, including one Capt. Braganza, the company’s commanding officer.

It added the encounters triggered the reported bombings which caused the evacuation. (MindaNews)