Lumad killings due to tribal conflict, says army
MANILA, Philippines – The deaths of 3 civilians and burning of a cooperative store in Surigao del Sur last September 1 was due to a tribal conflict, an Army probe said.
The report was submitted to the Commander of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division (ID) based in Cagayan de Oro City by the Army Board of Inquiry, which conducted the investigation.
"[T]he incident in Sitio Han-ayan was a tribal conflict within the context of insurgency, that is, one tribal group affiliated with the New People’s Army (NPA) while the other is an anti-NPA tribal group," the Army said in a press release Sunday, September 13, quoting the probe results.
A school director and two community leaders were among the dead.
The inquiry board found that the military was not involved in the killings, said Major General Oscar T. Lactao, the 4ID commander.
Instead, the deaths were attributed to paramilitary group Magahat Bagani force.
The identifiend suspects were named Loloy Tejero, Bobby Tejero, and Gareto Layno.
Any lapses of Philippine troops on the ground that could have prevented their immediate capture of the suspects is under unvestigation as well, the Army said in its release.
Col. Isidro L. Purisima, the 402nd Infantry Brigade Commander, had been directed by Lactao to "conduct law enforcement operation to capture the perpetrators."
“Magahat force has been known as anti-communist and as such, it is perceived to be closely associated with the government or military,” said Lactao.
“I would like to emphasize that it is the policy of this Command not to condone any illegal armed groups,” he added. – Rappler.com