5 months after AFP torching of houses, Agusan residents yet to return home
Residents of Barangay San Vicente, Esperanza in Agusan del Sur have yet to return to their community after soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ 401st Brigade and elements of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force torched their homes last March.
The military and police razed a school and 15 houses in Sityo Canada of the said barangay last March 18. Six residents were abducted and remain missing as of this writing.
Reports by the residents reaching the New People’s Army (NPA) said that soldiers set ablaze the entire community. The soldiers and police also felled timber and fruit-bearing trees to clear the area for their helicopter. The operating troops strew garbage all over the community, including some uniforms and medical waste used to treat their wounded.
On March 15, a few days before wreaking havoc on the community, four civilian residents were fired upon by soldiers. One of the victims who escaped said that the military mistook them for NPA fighters.
Meanwhile, a misencounter near the village occured last March 17 between the troopers from the AFP and the PNP. The misencounter resulted in more than 10 casualties.