Security guard killed in NPA attacks in South Cotabato

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/08 December) — A private security guard was killed while several village watchmen were reported wounded in separate attacks by suspected New People’s Army rebels in a remote village in Lake Sebu town in South Cotabato on Monday night.

Lt. Col. Ronald Jess Alcudia, commanding officer of the Army’s 27th Infantry Batttalion, said Tuesday an undetermined number of rebels stormed a base of a private construction firm working on a government road project in Sitio Lamsuging, Barangay Lamfugon in Lake Sebu at around 9:30 p.m. Monday and burned three heavy equipment.

He said another group of rebels believed to be members of the NPA’s Front 73, staged another attack near the site and “executed” a still unidentified security guard.

Citing reports from the field, he said the rebels attacked first the base of the Koronadal City-based Gemma Construction in Sitio Lamsuging and attempted to burn several stationed heavy equipment.

He said members of Lamfugon’s barangay peacekeeping action team or BPAT and several civilian volunteers resisted the attack but were eventually overpowered after running out of ammunition.

The rebels succeeded in torching two backhoes and a bulldozer, he said.

The official said several BPAT members and barangay tanods were reportedly wounded in the attack but they were still validating the matter.

In the second attack, Alcudia said Lake Sebu town officials confirmed that a security guard was killed by the rebels.

He said the incident happened near the boundary of Barangays Lamfugon and Ned in Lake Sebu.

Town officials reported a second victim of the attack but was still unconfirmed as of Tuesday morning.

“These are separate attacks and our investigation with the (Lake Sebu) police is currently ongoing,” Alcudia said in a radio interview.

The official said they were investigating whether the attacks were coordinated or staged by a single group.

He declined to give details regarding their counter-operations but noted that pursuit operations were ongoing against the attackers.

The attack on Monday night was the second since July for Gemma Construction, which was contracted by the Department of Public Works and Highways for a road widening project.

The firm’s project engineer was killed in the July incident that led to the temporary suspension of the project.

The company later agreed three months ago to resume the road project following the deployment of police and military personnel in the area.

Local residents also volunteered to assist the security operations to facilitate the project’s completion.

“This is another setback for the project but rest assured that we’re doing everything to address this problem,” he added. (MindaNews)