Leader of farmers’ group shot dead in Surigao Norte town

By Carlos Linao and Ben Serrano

A leader of farmers’ group in Surigao del Norte province was shot and killed by motorcycle-riding gunmen on Monday in Alegria town, police said.

Police said Meliton Catampungan, chairperson of Nagkahiusang mga Mag-uuma Sa Surigao del Norte (NAMASUN)-Alegria Chapter, an organization affiliated with the leftist farmer’s group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) was on his way home when attacked in Barangay Poblacion on Monday afternoon.

The 60-year-old farmer died from bullet wounds in the arm and chest.

Insp. Roan Belarmino, Alegria police chief said they were looking at all angles, including Catampungan’s work as a traffic enforcer, in determining the possible motive for the killing.

In a statement, KMP-Caraga condemned the killing and urged authorities to ensure the arrest of suspects.

It said the victim was active in helping farmers and had no known enemies.

The group alleges that government agents were behind the death of Catampungan who was vocal in his stand for genuine agrarian reform and against the entry of military’s Peace and Development Program in farming communities in Surigao del Norte.

“Niadtong bulan sa Mayo, nakabantay na ang mga membro ug si Meliton mismo nga adunay nagsige og paniid sa iyang balay. Adunay 2 ka lalaki nga naka-motor ang nagsige og balik-balik og pangutana kun anaa ba si Meliton sa iyang balay,” KMP said in the statement.

“Wala siya undangi sa pagmonitor sa mga wala mailhing tao, hangtud nga gipusil ug napatay siya,” it added.

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