[In the news] Tribal members flee Tampakan mine site due to heavy military presence -MindaNews.com

Tribal members flee Tampakan mine site due to heavy military presence
By Bong S. Sarmiento, MindaNews.com
February 3 2013

MindaNewsKORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/2 February)—At least 50 individuals, mostly women and children, have fled the mines development site of foreign-backed Sagittarius Mines, Inc. for fear of the growing militarization in the area, a church worker said Saturday.

Rene Pamplona, advocacy officer of the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Marbel, said the evacuees have sought refuge in a shelter owned by the diocese.

“They started going down on board motorcycles yesterday (Friday) because they are afraid of the growing presence of the military,” he said on the phone.

Pamplona said the evacuees came from Bong Mal district, a B’laan territory at the heart of the mines development site that straddles the towns of Tampakan in South Cotabato and Kiblawan in Davao del Sur.

The evacuation came three days after the alleged encounter between soldiers and a tribal armed group that is opposing the mining venture of SMI.

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