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Farmer dead in ambush

KIDAPAWAN CITY, Philippines – Armed men ambushed and killed a 70-year-old farmer and wounded another in a remote village in Arakan town in North Cotabato, around 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Senior Inspector Rolly Oranza, chief of Arakan Police, identified the slain farmer as Rolando Sibonga of Sitio Lumatikon, Barangay Kabalantian, and the wounded as Jose Rany Tatoy, 45, of Barangay Gambodez, both in Arakan town.

Oranza said the victims were on their way to their respective farm lots in Barangay Gambodez when the armed men, positioned in a hilly portion, started spraying them with bullets.

Sibonga died on the spot due to multiple gunshot wounds while Tatoy was hit in his right thigh and declared out of danger at a hospital in nearby Antipas town.

“By looking at their wounds, Sibonga was the real target. It was just unfortunate that Tatoy was there when the suspects ambushed Sibonga,” he said.

But Tatoy, according to Oranza, has no clues as to the identities of their attackers.

Reports said Sibonga, an Ilonggo, was working in a farm lot owned by a certain Army Sergeant Joven Ante while Tatoy works in a farm lot owned by a certain Yanong in Barangay Gambodez.

Investigators are looking at a deep-seated land conflict as behind the shooting and that it was connected with the killing in August of a leader of an indigenous people in Barangay Gambodez. (Malu Cadelina Manar)