2 leftists killed for ignoring checkpoint
() - April 28, 2007 - 3:55am
Soldiers manning checkpoints in a remote part of a highway in New Compostela shot dead two members of a militant farmers’ group and wounded their three companions who reportedly drove past the checkpoints and refused to pull over last Wednesday night. The two fatalities, members of the leftist Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), were identified as Elias Mabundas, 25, and Aurelia Bugahod, 50. Wounded were Warlito Villafuerte, Beato Suralba and Monith Bogaod. The five were on an improvised motorcycle when they were told to stop by soldiers belonging to the Army’s 28th Infantry Battalion at around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday in New Bataan. The five reportedly drove past two checkpoints and ignored warning shots by the soldiers. Armed Forces of the Philippines Eastern Mindanao Command spokesman Maj. Randolph Cabangbang said the soldiers, who were on alert for attacks by communist rebels, had no recourse but to open fire. Provincial police director Nestor Quinsay said the soldiers had no prior knowledge of the identities or affiliations of the five KMP members. Local rights groups say more than 800 people have been murdered for political reasons since President Arroyo took office in 2001. Two months ago, a UN special rapporteur also blamed the military for the killings, and said they remained in “almost total denial.” Military officials refer to left-wing activist groups as fronts for communist rebels, who have waged a rural-based Maoist insurgency for 38 years, Asia’s longest. Cabangbang said the victims were traveling at high-speed despite calls and even shouts for them to slow down. Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) Mindanao secretary-general Omar Bantayan condemned the attacks. “The act was a blatant attack against the people’s movement. The workers of KMU are in solidarity with the KMP over the incident,” Bantayan said. “We will fight for justice, we will not be cowed by the Arroyo administration,” he said. Carl Ala, KMP spokesman, also denied the police account saying Mabundas was first shot and wounded as he slowed down at the first checkpoint. Ala alleged it was possible that soldiers targeted him as a left-wing activist. Mabundas was being accompanied by his four companions to a hospital when they dashed through the second heavily manned checkpoint without stopping, Ala said. - with AP and AFP

AELIG ARING ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES EASTERN MINDANAO COMMAND AURELIA BUGAHOD BEATO SURALBA AND MONITH BOGAOD CARL ALA ELIAS MABUNDAS IEXCL
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