By Mike Crismundo
CAMP BANCASI, Butuan City – Field unit commanders of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) on Sunday disclosed that the Communist New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs) allegedly continued violating the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) through continuous use of landmines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
The AFP, PNP and RPOC urged human rights group and other peace loving groups including church organizations to join them in condemning the CNTs in the continuous use of prohibited weapons.
“Landmines and IEDs do not only maim and kill victims but also cause mutilation and despoliation of the human body,” claimed Maj. Gen. Ronald C. Villanueva, commanding general of the AFPs Northeastern and Northern Mindanao 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division (4th ID), in a statement sent to The Manila Bulletin on Sunday.
The 4th ID chief cited the recent incident where 2 government soldiers were killed and three Army soldiers were wounded when the CNTs planted landmines that went off at 4:50 p.m. on Thursday (July 19) in Bungkuan area, Barangay San Juan, Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur.
The impact of the land mine blast ripped the body parts of the two soldiers, the military report said.
Troops under the Army’s 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade were conducting clearing operations to the discovered NPA terrorists’ encampment that can accommodate 100 members. During the clearing, 402nd Brigade was engaged in a firefight that lasted for 20 minutes against the occupants of the camp and followed by a landmine explosion that ripped the body parts of two soldiers and wounded three others, the military report also said.
Major General Villanueva extended his condolences to the bereaved families and loved ones of the two soldiers who were killed.
“I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the family of our two soldiers who were victims of the inhumane scheme of warfare by the NPA terrorists through landmines,” the top area commander of the AFP in Northeastern and Northern Mindanao said.
“This barbaric incident proves that NPAs are worthy to be called as terrorists,” Maj. Gen. Villanueva added.
“We condemn this senseless act of using landmine and disrespecting International Humanitarian Law,” said Brig. Gen. Franco Nemesio Gacal, commanding general of the 402nd Brigade.
Gen. Gacal said: “There have been incidents of NPA terrorists using landmines and IEDs in our area of responsibility. Last March 4, 2015, NPA terrorists detonated an IED targeting the troops of 58th Infantry Battalion which killed two soldiers and a 16-year old boy in Barangays Cancavan and Puyat of Carmen, Surigao del Sur. On August 10, 2017, two civilians were critically wounded upon detonation of an IED by the same group along the national highway of Brgy Pungtod, San Agustin, Surigao del Sur. Just this year, May 5, 30th Infantry Battalion troops seized six IEDs in an NPA terrorist encampment in the municipality of Malimono, Surigao del Norte.”
The 402nd Brigade commander urged human rights group to look into these continuous use of these prohibited landmines and IEDs by the CTNs, which could also inflict death not only on government soldiers but also on innocent civilians.
“This inhuman act must be stopped,” stressed 4th ID Public Affairs Office chief 1st Lt. Tere Ingente.