91st IB bombing and combat operations displace around 400 families in Aurora

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Nearly 400 families from the barangays of Dipaculao, Aurora were displaced following the bombing, strafing and intensified combat operations of the 91st IB in Dipaculao and the neighboring town of Maria Aurora since May 20. The 91st IB unleashed its butcher units after its encounter with the New People’s Army (NPA)-Aurora on the morning of May 20 in Barangay Toytoyan, Dipaculao.

Residents reported two helicopters were used by the 91st IB in going around the barangays of Diamanen, Toytoyan, Puangi, Dimabuno, Salay, and Sapang Kawayan in Dipaculao. Subsequently, they surrounded the barangays of Bannawag, Bayanihan, Cadayacan, in the town of Maria Aurora where they dropped bombs on the fields.

In addition, the 91st IB conducted “pursuit” operations against an NPA unit which it encountered using indiscriminate firing. Reports said a young person was killed due to these operations.

The shocking explosions and earthquakes caused by the bombing and shelling brought residents great fear and trauma. These forced them to flee their respective communities. Some civilians who choose to stay in their community to tend their homes faced severe fear.

The 91st IB’s terrorism also derailed classes in schools, work in famrs and residents’ livelihoods. They were unable go out for fear of being caught by the military or be accused of anything. The soldiers and local government have also blocked all roads going to Quirino up to the highway to Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija.

In April, this same communities suffered aftera focused military operation (FMO) was launched by the Armed Forces of the Philippines. During that time, they were also prohibited from farming in their rice paddies, vegetables farms, and coconut fields.

Meanwhile, the police and military have been issuing widespread threats on social media, warning residents not to post what is happening in the communities. They claim it is part of their fight against “fake news.”

Karapatan-Central Luzon condemned the military for the violence taking place in Aurora. The group demanded that AFP soldiers respect international humanitarian law and recognize the rights of civilians.

They also called on democratic and humanitarian organizations to join their mercy and solidarity mission for the communities in Dipaculao and Maria Aurora in Aurora that are most affected by militarization.

AB: 91st IB bombing and combat operations displace around 400 families in Aurora