BUTUAN CITY – The Army’s 901st Infantry Brigade (901Bde) said the recent anti-personnel mines (APM) blast in Agusan del Norte that killed one soldier and injured four others, were planted by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in an area frequented by civilians.
“We strongly condemn the use of landmines, weapons that inflict damages and destruction to human lives,” Capt. Joash Pramis, of the 901Bde’s Civil-Military Operations, told Philippine News Agency Wednesday.
Pramis said the site of the armed encounter between Army soldiers and NPA rebels where the APM exploded is the usual trail of ordinary civilians, those who work in small-scale mining and the ordinary farmers.
“We cannot imagine the extent of damages if civilians who frequent the area stepped into one of these landmines planted by the NPA rebels,” he said.
Pramis said on May 31, soldiers from the 29th Infantry Battalion responded to reports of civilians on the presence of NPA rebels in Sitio Ilong-ilong, Barangay Poblacion 1, Santiago, Agusan del Norte.
Upon reaching the vicinity of Sitio Ilong-ilong, 10 NPA rebels engaged the soldiers in a firefight.
In the course of the 30-minute clash, four landmines exploded killed Sgt. Van A. Tadlas and wounded four others.
“We ask that the names of those wounded be withheld for security reasons. They are now undergoing medical treatment. The immediate family of Sgt. Tadlas was already informed,” he said.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The international community has also adopted the 1997 Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention prohibiting the acquisition, production, stockpiling and use of the weapons.
More than 160 states are party to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention that went into effect in 1999. (PNA)