MANILA, Mar 3 (Mabuhay) – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Monday vehemently condemned the latest landmine attacks perpetuated by the New People’s Army (NPA) which wounded 16 people, five of them civilians, in Bansalan town, Davao Del Sur Sunday.
“The AFP condemns this desperate attack by the NPAs who continue to sow violence in rural areas in the country. The NPA’s use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) as landmines endangers lives, as well as sows terror among civilians in the immediate area of attack,” AFP public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said.
He pointed out that under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law to which the NPA is one of the signatories, the use of IEDs as landmines is prohibited to prevent damages to civilians.
Zagala said that the AFP will pursue the perpetrators in view of ending their violent activities and in bringing peace and development in rural communities.
NPA fighters earlier conducted two landmine attacks in Bansalan town, Davao Del Sur Sunday.
The latest explosion occurred in SitioTower, Barangay Managa, at 7:30 p.m.
This attack hit an ambulance convoy on the way to help the 11 soldiers wounded in the first landmine blast in Sitio Balutakay, Managa town at around 11:18 a.m.
Col. Marcos Norman Flores Jr., 1002nd Infantry Brigade commander, identified the wounded civilians as Henaro Dumayas, Alberto Cabual Jr., Arnel Valeroso, Ivan Malingo and Bonita Dela Cruz.
All five are members of the Davao Del Sur Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
Dumayas, who sustained wounds at the left forearm, left thigh and inferior side of the head, and Cabual, who was wounded at his left arm, are in critical condition in DigosDoctorsHospital while the other three suffered slight wounds.
Initial reports stated that Menandro Villanueva, Secretary of the Southern Mindanao Regional Committee personally ordered the land-mining of the civilian ambulance.
“We condemn to the highest degree this barbaric, brutal and inhumane act of the NPA clearly and gravely violating the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. We call on various human rights group, including the Karapatan, who remained mum whenever the NPA commits serious human rights violations but are active whenever there are alleged, unfounded and deceitful propaganda against the government, to put a stop and to condemn the heinous crimes of the NPA,” Flores said.
Earlier in the morning, troops of the 39th Infantry Battalion under 1st Lt. Ian Rogel Ngalew, were victimized by another NPA landmine while conducting security patrols in Sitio Balutakay, Managa town.
This started an hour-long firefight which resulted in the wounding of 11 soldiers, two of them officers.
On the other hand, community members reported that the NPA brought with them four dead members and several wounded from the firefight.
Pursuit operations are still ongoing. (MNS)