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89 families flee from NPA in Agusan Norte

New People’s Army rebels attacked a community Wednesday in Barangay Hinimbangan, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte, forcing 89 families to flee, the military reported yesterday.

Lt. Col. Glenn Joy Aynera, commander of the 29th Infantry Batallion, said the affected families were evacuated at the gymnasium of Barangay Crossing.

Aynera said the rebels opened fire while government troops were conducting development support and security operations in the area.

He said continuous harassment by the rebels in the barangay has forced 357 civilians to leave their homes.

Some residents said the rebels forced the cancellation of classes and accused some of them of firing indiscriminately at their houses.

“Once again, the NPAs have violated the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect to Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law which is the only document that was duly signed by the GRP and NDF when they indiscriminately attacked the said community that caused the eventual and forced evacuation of the people,” Aynera said. “Our troops were there to help the LGU in identifying the needs of the community in order to alleviate their living condition,” he added.

Aynera said the “terroristic attack” of the NPAs sowed fear among the people in that community. “Rest assured that together with the PNP we will defend the community and will bring back the peace and order in the area, he said.

Meanwhile, the 29th IB coordinated with the Local Government Unit of Kitcharao to address the basic needs of the displaced families.

Likewise, the troops also distributed relief goods and food packs in coordination with the Municipal Social Welfare Development.

“Despite the incident, we are still thankful that the people in that community still vows to fully support the development programs of the government especially that it will benefit their families,” Aynera said. “With this, the 29th Infantry Battalion will continue its efforts in solving the insurgency situation that hinders the peace and development in the area,” Aynera assured. (FRANCIS T. WAKEFIELD)