By Francis T. Wakefield
Three farmers were reportedly kidnapped and used as human shields by suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) after an armed encounter against government troops in Misamis Occidental on Tuesday.
Army 1st Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Roseller G. Murillo, said the NPA terrorists’ abduction of the civilians was confirmed by Mayor Junie Roa and Roxas Barangay Chair Marieta Dologaog both of Aloran Municipality, Misamis Occidental.
The two local chief executives reported that three of their constituents were forcibly taken from their home and used as human shields by 10 Communist NPA terrorists while retreating after their armed encounter with 10th Infantry Battalion troops in Barangay Sinampongan of the same municipality.
The 10th Infantry Battalion immediately conducted rescue operations for the kidnapped civilians.
Murillo said the victims were later released after the NPA terrorists used them as human shields to scamper away from the Army’s rescue operations.
Two of those kidnapped were identified as Renie and wife Aireen Ando. The house of the victims was approximately 500 meters from the armed encounter site.
Murillo, who is also the commander of Joint Task Force ZamPeLan (Zamboanga Peninsula, Lanao), described the terroristic act of kidnapping innocent civilians for use as human shields as a crime against the International Humanitarian Law and the act of desperate criminal cowards who care nothing about the welfare and safety of the people.