By LITO RULONA
HE New People’s Army has sought forgiveness from the family of the infant that was killed in an ambush rebels staged in an outlying village in Talakag town in Bukidnon on Thursday.
In a statement, Ka Malem Mabini, spokesperson of the NPA in central Mindanao, said the death four-month old Machorao Malysha Ali was an “unforseen painful occurrence.”
The baby died after being hit by a bullet on the forehead during the Talakag ambush that also killed SPO3 Arnel Carillo.
At least three civilians were hurt in the rebel attack. The victims were Ali Sitti, Ali Aminsala and the baby’s mother Wanida.
Mabini said the NPA would find a way to get in touch with the infant’s relatives to ask for forgiveness and offer them indemnification.
But Mabini maintained: “Whether we like it or not, the process of continuing a civil war entails certain unavoidable circumstances such as what happened.”
In a statement yesterday, Camp Evangelista condemned what it called as the NPA’s “attempt to justify a barbaric act,” calling the deaths resulting from the Nov. 9 ambush in Barangay Tikalaan in Talakag as “murders.”
“The killing of the infant and policeman – like other NPA executions – is just plain murder,” said Maj. Gen. Ronald Villanueva, 4th Infantry Division commander. “The NPA’s actions and claims of revolutionary are flagrant violations of our law and international law.”
Villanueva said the NPA should surrender those behind the ambush to authorities.
“If they want to offer indemnification to the family, it would be best if they surrender the perpetrators to justice,” he said.
Villanueva said the government would ensure that justice would be given to the families of the victims even as he vowed that there would be no let-up in the military operations.
He called the killings dastardly, and a deliberate violation of agreed rules like “civilian population and civilians shall be treated as such and shall be distinguished from combatants and, together with their property, shall not be the object of attack.”
Villanueva said civiliansare also supposed to be protected from strafings and other indiscriminate attacks.
Capt. Joe Patrick Martinez, spokesman of the 4th Infantry Division, called the NPA rebels “infant killers.”
Martinez said the NPA’s statement “only aggravated the pains and sufferings” of the families of the infant and Carillo, and those who felt the loss of lives.
He said the ambush was deliberate and planned, and launched in a public place.
Martinez said the NPA rebels have criminal liabilities and violated the 1998 Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law between the government and the National Democratic Front.