Armed men burn heavy equipment at crushing site in Surigao City

SURIGAO CITY —  Around 150 fully armed men believed to be members of the New Peoples Army raided City Homes Basic Crushing Plant last week in Sitio Aton, Barangay Ipil, in this city and partially burned five heavy equipment owned by the Chua Family, a belated police report said.

Surigao City Police chief Supt. Jonathan Trojello said the incident took place at about 5:30 a.m. last Thursday.

Burned pay-loader of a crushing plant in Surigao City after an attack by armed men in Barangay Ipil in Suragao City on March 8. Natz. C. Corbeta
He said that suspects entered the plant’s premises and forcibly took the issued firearm (shotgun with 4 live ammunition) of the security guard on duty identified as Arnulfo Katamura, adding that  some of the attackers went into the quarter of another guard on duty identified as Noel Anduyan, whose firearm was also seized.

“We are looking into three possible angles to the crime: terrorism, extortion by other armed groups pretending to be NPA, and business rivalry,” Trojello said.

Witness guard said that while the suspects were burning the heavy equipment, some of them uttered words in local dialect: “Gahi ug ulo imong amo! Cge mi og tawag dili makig istorya, ug gagmay sweldo inyo mga tauhan diri, busa mag sample me og sunog….”

(Your bosses are stubborn… our calls to them were left unanswered… workers here have low salaries that is why we are going to burn their equipment).

Some suspects also fired their arms in the air while others positioned themselves as perimeter guards.

The suspects fled to mountainous areas after the attack, Trojello quoted the witness as saying.

Also according to Trojello, the attack has the imprints of members of the NPA.

Damaged equipment were: 3 pay-loaders (TCM 850, TCM75B Michigan, 753A Michigan) and one Dumptruck (GEL 445). Damage estimate could reach P7.5 million, a PNP report said.

The Phiilippine Army also condemned the “terrorist” act by the attackers.

Major Eugenio Julio Osias, spokesman for the 4th Infantry Division, in a telephone interview with GMA News Onlie, said they will also conduct a separate investigation on the incident, in close coordination with Surigao City police.

“We are closely coordinating with the PNP on what we can do to resolved this matter as soon as possible”, Osias said. — Natz C. Corbeta /LBG, GMA News

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