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Government promises to probe family shooting

Pledge follows threat of reprisals against troops reporter, Manila

October 26, 2012

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The government said today it will "certainly" investigate the killing of a tribal leader’s family in Davao del Sur province last week. On October 18, government troops reportedly opened fire on the house of Daguel Capion, an anti-mining activist, killing his pregnant wife and his two sons aged 13 and eight. His five-year-old daughter was wounded. Soldiers say the shootings, near the town of Tampakan, occurred in a firefight with Capion and his supporters. However witnesses say that no clash took place. Capion is wanted by authorities for leading an armed struggle against a nearby mining concession. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda made the pledge to investigate the deaths at a press briefing in Manila. He  was responding to questions about threats made by the Communist Party of the Philippines earlier this week that its armed wing, the New People's Army, would step up attacks on government forces to avenge the killings. Lacierda however warned that government troops are ready to defend themselves and civilians from rebel attacks, if and when they come. Italian missionary priest Peter Geremia, meanwhile, said the killing of Capion’s family shows a system of violence against people who stand up for their rights over land. Those behind the killings "operate under the protective cloak of the government's anti-insurgency policy that also targets people who resist oppression." “To the officers, even the president, I ask: If you order or allow people to be killed, haven’t you lost your legitimacy? You may find words to justify your rules of engagement, but you cannot justify this crime before God and your people," the priest said. Tribal leader’s family shot dead
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