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22 Mär 2021

Nestor P. Burgos Jr., Inquirer

Philippines: Key witness in defence of arrested Tumandok tribe members killed

'Key witness in Tumandok killings in Capiz shot dead', 02 March 2021

Slain village chief Julie Catamin was supposed to be a key witness in the defense of Tumandok tribe members who were arrested and gunned down in the Dec. 30 police operation in Capiz and Iloilo provinces... Catamin, 49, village chief of Roosevelt in Tapaz, was driving a motorcycle on their way home around 8:45 a.m. when two assailants wearing helmets onboard a black motorcycle repeatedly fired at them at Barangay Malitbog Centro of Calinog, which adjoins Tapaz. Four .45-caliber empty shells were found at the crime scene, the Calinog police said... [T]he farmers federation Pamanggas accused state forces of being behind the attack. “[Catamin’s killing] is meant to silence [them] and sow fear among residents to stop them from telling the truth on the killing of nine Tumandok leaders and the arrest of 16 others,” Pamanggas said in a statement. In a post on Catamin’s Facebook page on Dec. 30, Catamin accused policemen who arrested four residents of their village of planting firearms and explosives... Nine tribal leaders died when police operatives served search warrants for firearms and explosives in two villages in Calinog and six villages in Tapaz. Police and military officials claimed the nine died after they fired at policemen...