CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines — Gunmen dragged 11 members of an obscure religious sect from their homes, lined them up on a roadside and killed them as villagers watched, the military regional commander said Saturday.
Brig. Gen. Jesus Hermosa said the victims' hands were tied behind their backs and they were forced to shout, "Long live the NPA!" before being shot. The NPA is the New People's Army, a Communist guerrilla group that has been fighting to overthrow the government for 17 years.
Hermosa said the shooting occurred Friday in San Roque village in southern Surigao del Norte province, 455 miles southeast of Manila on Mindanao Island. He said the victims were dragged from their homes in neighboring Mati village and taken to San Roque for execution.
The commander said those killed belonged to a sect called Diyos Amahan, or God the Father. Investigators did not know the motive for the killings. It is widely known, however, that under deposed President Ferdinand E. Marcos the military used members of such beliefs, which are strongly anti-communist, to help fight the insurgents.