|Ambulance ambush by NPA|
DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Communist guerrillas apologized to families of civilians who had been killed in a guerrilla ambush on Nov. 30, saying the attack’s targets were a village warlord and soldiers using an ambulance as a deceptive measure against guerrilla attack.
“We know that apologies are not enough because we can do nothing to bring the dead back,” said Maria Malaya, spokesperson of the National Democratic Front (NDF) in Northeastern Mindanao.
“But we are doing everything to help the families of the civilians,” Malaya said.
NDF admitted erring in the attack, which killed four civilians and wounded two others.
In a statement, Jorge Madlos, NDF Mindanao spokesperson, said it is “most unfortunate” that civilians were killed in the guerrilla attack in the town of Rosario, Agusan del Sur province.
Madlos said a unit of the New People’s Army, the NDF’s armed component, was targeting “a notorious armed barangay captain, together with his escorts” and militiamen.
The military said the ambulance was carrying 11 government soldiers, militiamen and civilians when it was attacked by guerrillas as it passed by Sitio Talay in Barangay Maril.
The civilians killed in the attack were identified as 27-year-old Neljoy Cerna, 51-year-old Alfredo Cerna, 51-year-old Nonie Mabong and 30-year-old Vanessa Sabas.
Two other civilians were also wounded. They include 8-year-old Mac Roselyn Adonis and 47-year-old Liza Castilla.
The target of the attack, Jun Solidor, village chief of Maril, was wounded. Also wounded were Sgt. Diryun Mordeno and militiamen Expedito Sabado and Reynaldo Austral.
Lt. Gen. Aurelio Baladad, head of the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command, condemned the attack, saying it violated international humanitarian law.
The NPA had accused Solidor of protecting illegal logging and using militiamen to grab lands from farmers.
Malaya said the NPA was unaware that Solidor had allowed civilians to hitch a ride in the ambulance that the village chief uses.