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NPAs torch North Cotabato logging truck

Local News • 18:04 PM Thu Sep 17, 2015
Edwin O. Fernandez and Malu Manar DXND-AM Radyo Bida

MAGPET, North Cotabato -- Suspected New Peoples Army guerillas on Wednesday set on fire a logging truck in a remote village here, police said.Five heavily armed rebels torched Wednesday a logging truck in a
remote village of Imamaling but spared its driver and two helpers, according to
Senior Insp. Felix Fornan, Magpet police chief.

The 10-wheeler truck (JDP-907), locally known as Iraqi truck” or Saddam truck because it
was a surplus vehicle from Iraq, was loaded with logs and was heading toward the
town center when the gunmen appeared from nowhere and flagged down the vehicle
at past 12 noon.

Antonio dela Cruz, driver, told police he regularly passed by
the village from the forest with logs but on Wednesday, the truck was
stopped. He quoted the gunmen as saying Filipino,
Move, we have no grudge with you, only with the truck owner.”

The gunmen then poured gasoline on the vehicle and set it on
fire, including the logs.

Dela Cruz and the two helpers walked for several kilometres to
reach the town police office to report.Supt. Bernard Tayong, North Cotabato police spokesperson, said manhunt has been on going. The truck and the Gmelina logs wereowned by a certain Cesar Ticuala of Kidapawan City.The guerillas belonged to NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Committee's Guerilla Front 54. The rebels also told dela Cruz they were not after him but to his boss, Ticuala, sawmill owner in Kidapawan City. Extortion could be one of the motives of the arson, according to Fornan. Reports reaching the local police said that the rebels had been extorting ‘protection’ money from Ticuala. Ticuala, according to Fornan, is doing logging concessions in barangays of Imamaling and Manobisa, both in Magpet town.

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