Killing of civilians, US war of terror instigate retaliatory extremist violence

By Communist Party of the Philippines

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemns the killing of several unarmed civilians by the Special Action Forces of the Philippine National Police (PNP-SAF) in the course of the US-instigated and -directed operation to assassinate Zulkipli Bin Hir alias Marwan in Barangay Tukanalipao, Mamasapono, Maguindanao on 25 January 2015.

The PNP troops made use of unmitigated lethal force, indiscriminately fired at civilian homes, and tortured at least one local resident as they swooped down on Barangay (village) Tukanalipao to carry out their operation to assassinate Marwan. The company-sized operation of the PNP-SAF under Operation Wolverine was hatched by US security forces and carried out clandestinely under direct orders of Benigno Aquino III and his trusted police officials.

Together with American troops, PNP elite combatants unleashed all-out violence against the Tukanalipao community in complete disregard of international humanitarian law and conventions of war. According to facts gathered by Moro human rights groups, PNP-SAF troops opened fire at an Islamic Center of masjid in Sitio Inubog, Barangay Tukanalipao on the mere suspicion that members of the Jemaah Islamiya were among the people praying or sleeping inside. At least three civilians where killed and three others wounded.

PNP-SAF troops also opened fire at the house of the Panangulon family, killing 5-year old Sarah Panangulon, and wounding her parents Tots and Sarah Lawani Langalan. PNP-SAF troops are also suspected of seizing and torturing Badrudin Langalan, a local farmer, who was crossing the bridge to Barangay Tukanalipao when chanced upon by the police. His body was later found hogtied, riddled with bullets and his eyes gouged out. Police troopers also opened fire at the hut where the supposed target Marwan slept, also killing several civilians who were with him.

The US-directed PNP operation sparked a fierce gun battle between the police special forces and the Moro fighters in the area. Mamasapano is a stronghold of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters. The subsequent battle resulted in the deaths of at least 44 police troops, 18 MILF and several BIFF fighters. The great loss suffered by the Aquino regime has resulted in deep resentment among the security officials who were kept in the dark about the operation. In an apparent bid to assuage Philippine police and military officials, US Federal Bureau of Investigation said tests show that among those killed in Operation Wolverine was indeed Marwan.

The supposed neutralization of Marwan, together with the killing and use of armed violence against civilians in the vicinity, will not result in an abatement of extremist violence. In fact, the US and its puppet forces have succeeded only in further inciting hatred against the US government and US armed forces, as well as against the AFP and PNP, and will only lead to a further escalation of retaliatory extremist violence that invariably victimizes civilians.

The Aquino regime and its police and military force are blind zealots trained in the US militarist dogma which considers unarmed civilians as legitimate targets of armed violence merely for being relatives or friends of persons included by the US in their so-called terrorist listing. Recall that in February 2012, at least 15 civilians, including religious leaders, were killed when the AFP dropped so-called “smart bombs” supplied by the US military on targets also specified by the US military in Jolo, Sulu.

The July 25 operation in Barangay Tukanalipao itself was patterned after US military raids and drone strikes against communities in Sulu, Basilan and other areas of the Bangsamoro, as well as in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, where civilians have become prime targets of armed violence.

PNP forces, as well as AFP troops have been subjected to intense US military indoctrination over the past several years where they are taught that civilians in conflict areas, such as residents of Mamasapono, are legitimate targets of their lethal firepower and weapons of mass destruction. Oplan Bayanihan peace and development operations carried out in guerrilla areas of operation of the New People’s Army also violate the rights of civilian communities and subject them to terror and suppression.

The US and US-directed forces are inviting retaliation by unleashing lethal force and violence that do not discriminate between armed enemies and civilians. The US promotes racial and religious profiling and has subjected people around the world to suspicion and suppression. The US imperialists and its puppets have inflicted widespread violence, mass killings and injury against civilians in the course of the US occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the relentless genocidal bombing of the US-supported Israeli government against the Palestinian people.

In imposing Pax Americana and US hegemony in order to control the world’s resources, secure its investments and trade routes, the US imperialists are inflicting unmitigated violence against entire peoples, giving religious reactionaries tinder to spark extremist violence and carry out retaliation. US security forces have also clandestinely supported, trained and maintained links with such groups as the al-Qaeda, ISIS, Jemaah Islamiya and Abu Sayyaf, some of whose leaders count among those formely aligned with or trained by the US military.

Over the past several years, the US military has intensified its presence and operations in the country. The US Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) has maintained its base in Zamboanga and has launched operations in and around Western Mindanao to dominate the Bangsamoro ancestral lands and ensure that big US companies seize control of the contracts to plunder the resources in the vast Liguasan marshland and other resource-rich areas.

The CPP calls on the Filipino people and the Moro people to unite against US imperialist domination, demand an end to US military presence and intervention and stand against the puppetry of the neocolonial state and its armed forces. The CPP calls on the people to continue waging a just war to achieve national and social liberation.