Double murder | Army tags NPAs in death of tribal leader, son

A tribal leader and his son were killed inside their house in Talaingod, Davao del Norte Sunday dawn.

Unidentified armed men who posed as soldiers killed Datu Banadjao Mampaundag and son Jhonard around 4 a.m. Sunday in Sitio Igang, Barangay Palma Gil,

Mampaundag was one of the tribal leaders who signed a manifesto of support to the government’s peace effort in the recently concluded Indigenous People Leaders’ Summit at Camp Felix Apolinario, the headquarters of the Philippine Army’s Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom), in Panacan last week.

Major Ezra Balagtey, EastMinCom spokesperson, said a group of rebels arrived in Sitio Igang.

The commander was speaking in Tagalog as he gave command to his subordinates as if they were government soldiers.

But the armed men suddenly shot at Mampaundag’s house, hitting the victims.

Medical personnel of the Talaingod municipal government tried to rush to the area with an ambulance. But they were forced to cancel when they heard a loud explosion.

Capt. Jodel Balanban, the newly appointed civil-military operations (CMO) officer of the 60th Infantry Battalion, said the improvised explosive device (IED) that exploded was just near the Talaingod highway.

As of this writing, the cadavers of the victims are still in Sitio Igang waiting to be retrieved.

NPAs are still in the area preparing an ambush and possible IED attacks on responding troops, officials said.

Balanban said they are identifying the perpetrators.

The military said the murder could be an offshoot of the IP leaders commitment to stay away from the communist insurgents.

Datu Mampaundag was one of the almost 1,000 IP leaders who attended the peace summit supporting the government last Feb. 1 to 2 in Panacan.

President Rodrigo Duterte attended the summit.

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