Fresh violence hits Tampakan mine: 2 dead, 2 wounded

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews) – The peace and order situation has worsened in the mines development site of foreign-backed Sagittarius Mines, Inc., with a policeman and a mining consultant killed and two other militiamen wounded in the latest atrocity instigated by tribal members on Wednesday, military and mining company officials confirmed on Thursday.

The ambush came three days after a security guard was also killed within the Tampakan copper-gold project area.

1Lt. Bethuel N. Barber, civil military officer of the 27th Infantry Battalion, said two members of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) were wounded in an ensuing clash with the tribal members.

He identified the group that ambushed the victims and later clashed with responding government troops as allegedly headed by Daguil Capion, who is staunchly opposing the Tampakan project.

Last year, Capion admitted responsibility to the ambush that killed three workers of a construction company hired by Sagittarius Mines for a road project.

The suspect, who has since remained in hiding, had blamed the mining company for the atrocities in the mines site, saying bloodshed could have been avoided if only Sagittarius Mines heeded their demand to abandon the project.

Lt. Col. Alexis Noel C. Bravo, 27IB commander, ordered a continued manhunt operations against the suspects, Barber said.

The junior officer identified the victims as PO1 Roy Tunsoy and Villarmino Hectin, a security consultant of Sagittarius Mines.

Hectin was brought to a hospital in Digos City but didn’t make it alive, Barber said.

Meanwhile, the two CAFGU members have been brought to the Camp Panacan military hospital in Davao City for treatment, he added.

Due to the fresh violence, which occurred at 1 p.m. Wednesday in Sitio Maklak in Barangay Kimlawis, Davao del Sur, Sagittarius Mines has suspended work in the mines development site.

John B. Arnaldo, Sagittarius mines external communications and media relations manager, said that unidentified armed individuals ambushed a police vehicle escorting a water truck traveling in the mine site.

Arnaldo declined to give further details, saying the police and the military have secured the area.

“As a precautionary measure all our activities within the project area have been temporarily suspended until further notice,” he said.

Last Sunday, a security guard of the mining company was also shot dead in the mines site, less than a month after another shooting that injured the victim. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)