Communist rebels vehemently denied military claims it was responsible on an attack in a convoy conducting humanitarian and relief operations for earthquake survivors in San Francisco, Surigao del Norte.
Ka Oto, spokesperson of the NPA’s Front Committee 16-NorthEastern Mindanao Regional Committee, said the rebels strongly adhere to its self-imposed ceasefire, and would not initiate moves that would jeopardize ongoing relief and rehabilitation efforts in the province.
He, however, turned the tables on the army, accusing them of “staging ” the attack in a bid to sabotage the localized ceasefire and put them in bad light.
“As assure you it was not a rebel-initiated offensive. It was staged by the 30 IB and a clear act of sabotage. The road where the supposed attack happened was secured by roadblocks manned by government soldiers,” Oto said.
Around 8:30 p.m Tuesday, civil military operations team of the Army’s 30 Infantry Battalion with the ABS CBN Foundation were returning to Surigao City when shot at by suspected communist rebels in Barangay Linunggaman, San Francisco.
No casualties were reported in the incident, said 30 IB commander Lt. Col. Rico Amaro.
While acknowledging the site of attack is a known NPA stronghold, Oto insisted, there was no rebel buildup
at that time as guerrillas were confined to base in lieu of ceasefire.
Oto, also denied insinuations his unit was besieged by factionalism and that there’s an apparent disconnect between rebel commanders and armed militias on the ground.
“There’s no faction within our ranks. As a matter of policy, no movement of our militia without coordination with the guerilla unit,” Oto said. By CL