April 28, 2012

Attack on Soldiers in Ifugao: A Chance Encounter or a Planned Mission?

Eleven soldiers dead. One civilian (a female band vocalist) also dead. They were the casualties of a guerrilla ambush last April 25, 2012 in Tinoc, Ifugao. According to reports, the troops were returning to camp after attending a change-of-command ceremony when the rebels attacked them.

What's really surprising is how quick Lt. Col. Eugene Batara is in saying that the incident was a “chance attack”. He's basically saying that the guerrillas were strolling in Tinoc when they saw a military convoy coming and bam, they decided to mount a quick attack. I think that Batara is just saying this to protect the military from possible security lapses that helped the rebels in setting up an attack. But I think he knows what really happened there.

This looks like a planned mission by the guerrillas, not a chance encounter. The rebels knew all along that a military convoy is passing a road somewhere. So they waited. How they knew about it, I don't know, but they have sources. That's for sure.

“They were shot like sitting ducks.” said an army commander in describing the incident. [Source: Rappler]. This tells you that the point of attack was a well-chosen one. The rebels picked the spot because they have all the advantages if a firefight occurs. So the chances are very slim that this is a chance attack.

The military convoy was composed of three trucks. Most of those killed in the ambush were members of an Army musical band. According to reports, they were riding in the lead military vehicle.

Now here comes AFP spokesman Col. Arnulfo Burgos saying that the rebels possibly violated  Republic Act 9851. This RA supposedly penalizes crimes against the International Humanitarian Law and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Law (CARHRIHL). Burgos said “The soldiers were already immobilized as a result of the crash when their vehicle flipped over but the rebels continued to fire at them,”. Really? What was Burgos expecting? That the rebels will stop the attack once seeing that the soldiers were immobilized? That they will show compassion of any sort? An ambush is an ambush. Saying that the rebels violated this or that is an insult to the soldiers who paid the price for being soldiers. They were murdered. Clear as day. And you are talking about “possible violations”?

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