A Jehovah’s Witnesses pastor was killed and two others were injured when suspected members of the New People’s Army attacked Barangay Lahi in the town of Gigaquit, Surigao Del Norte on Wednesday.
The religious minister was identified as Jepti Asido, 32, while the wounded were identified as Virgil Ortiz and Abner Malaque, residents of Barangay Villafranca.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines condemned the attack.
“Sana mag-sorry sila doon sa family. Akalain mo ng dahil doon sa balak nilang i-harass ang barangay at iniisip nilang makaka-score sila sa army, pinagbabaril nila iyong tatlo. That is (not) accident. That is plain murder,” said BGen. Franco Nemesio Gacal, the Commander of the 402nd Infantry Bridage of the Philippine Army.
(I hope they apologize to the family. Because of their plan to harass the village in order to score against the army, they gunned down the three victims. That is [not] an accident. That is plain murder.)
According to Gacal, Jepti’s group was supposed to hold a meeting in Barangay Lahi when they were ambushed by the rebels.
Gacal said they suspect that the ambush was intended for the military troops in the area. He added that such cowardly act implies that the rebel group is not taking the government’s offer of peace seriously.
“Dapat hindi nila ginagalaw ang mga sibilyan. Hindi nila sinusunog o sinisira ang mga private properties. Iyan ang kasunduan so in this instance, nag-violate na naman sila,” Gacal added.
(They should not touch the civilians. They shouldn’t be burning or breaking private properties. That was the agreement, so in this instance, they violated again.)
Prior to Wednesday’s ambush, some rebel militants also stormed Police Station 5 in Butuan City last week. — Raymond Octobre | UNTV News & Rescue
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