MANILA - Two civilians were killed by government soldiers who mistook them for New People's Army (NPA) rebels in south Philippine province of Compostela Valley, a military officer disclosed on Thursday.
Maj. Gen. Eduardo Ano, commander of the Army's 10th Infantry Division, said two soldiers, assigned with the 66th Infantry Battalion who were directly involved, are now under custody and facing further investigation.
Ano said soldiers from the battalion were sent to barangay Manurigao in New Bataan town on Oct 12 after receiving reports that NPA rebels were laying improvised bombs and planning ambush against soldiers who will be involved in a later medical mission.
"At dawn while they (soldiers) were on patrol, someone pointed a flashlight at them and shouted 'soldiers, soldiers'. The soldiers were startled and mistook them for NPAs. They opened fire and later found two civilians dead," he said.
Ano said the two slain civilians, identified as Lando Sabado, 40 and his 16-year-old son Felix, both from the Lumad tribe, were unarmed.
He said it was not immediately clear what the two were doing in the area at that time.
The 4,000-strong NPA, armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, has been waging war against the government for over four decades.