Datu found in a ‘shallow grave’ in Surigao del Norte

Narsing Nayer, wife of the late datu: "I want justice for my husband." (Contributed Photo)
Narsing Nayer, wife of the late datu: “I want justice for my husband.” (Contributed Photo)

Lumad killings continue as Pres. Benigno Aquino III’s term comes to an end, with the strafing of six Lumad Mamanwa civilians and the murder of Datu Arnel Nayer in Brgy. Camam-onan, Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte.

“The Aquino administration has no compassion for the people. They continue to kill the Lumad…in the mountains that his soldiers continue to terrorize,” Kahugpungan sa mga Lumadnong Organisasyon sa Caraga (Kasalo-Caraga) said in a statement.

On April 23, Nayer and six Mamanwa farmers who went to their farms in Sitio Kalatingga to get some sweet potatoes. At around 1 p.m., they were resting at the mountainside road when they saw around 10 soldiers in full combat gear about 20 meters from them. A few minutes later, more soldiers came ten meters away, and started to open fire.

The datu’s companions, Lino Mansumay, 25, Anthony Anrique 55, Esmoter Anrique, 55, Ronel Anrique, 27, and Binbin Patusa 26, survived because they were able to run. Nayer, however, was left behind.

Datu Arnel Nayer
Datu Arnel Nayer

Mansumay suffered splinter wounds at the back of his left shoulder and arm.

Meanwhile, Nayer went missing, until his body was found on April 26 in a neighbouring sitio, “buried in a small and shallow pit, covered by dirt and dead leaves,” according to Kasalo-Caraga.

A recent solidarity and fact-finding mission found that members of the 30th and 29th Infantry Batallion of the Philippine Army were responsible for the strafing of civilians and the murder of Nayer.

Narsing Nayer, wife of the late datu, told the mission, “Mahatagan og hustisya ang akong bana (I want justice for my husband)”.

The rights group said that last November 13, the military bombed Sitio Kalatingga, forcing the evacuation of 43 Mamanwa families, or 211 individuals, to the neighboring community of Sitio Banban. The Lumad have not been able to return to their homes since then, because of continuing military operations.

Kasalo-Caraga believes that the “plunder of ancestral lands” is the reason behind Lumad killings in the area. “Gigaquit is targeted for coal mining by Timberwolves Resources Inc. This is the reason for the worsening militarization of our communities,” the group said.

The group also pointed out that members of the paramilitary group who perpetrated the September 1, 2015 Lianga Massacre in Surigao del Sur have not even been arrested yet. More than 2,000 Lumad Manobo evacuees continue to stay at the Surigao del Sur Sports Complex in Tandag City, unable to return to their communities for the past eight months.

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