NPA using landmines to sow terror in Surigao Norte: Army

BUTUAN CITY – The Philippine Army blasted anew the communist New People’s Army (NPA) for "terrorizing" the farming communities in Surigao del Norte by planting anti-personnel mines (APMs) in trails usually used even by civilians going to their farms.

1Lt. Wilfredo Quilang, the civil-military operations officer of the 30th Infantry Battalion, said the government troops recovered an APM in a skirmish with NPA rebels Monday (June 1) in the hinterland of Barangay Biyadid in Sison, Surigao del Norte.

“Our troopers received an information from a concerned citizen in the area about the presence of the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs),” Quilang told the Philippine News Agency on Wednesday (June 3).

He said the NPA rebels were threatening the farmers while extorting money and food.

Quilang said the NPA rebels were "sowing terror" among the farmers in Biyadi and the neighboring villages, telling residents that landmines planted in their area and will be detonated once they refuse to give in to their demands.

Acting on the information fed by the civilians, Quilang said 30IB personnel conducted a combat patrol Monday in the area that resulted in a 30-minute clash.

“As the CNTs scampered away, government troops recovered one APM that was already laid along a trail frequently used by the local residents in the area,” Quilang said.

No one was hurt on the side of the government forces after the armed encounter, he added.

In a statement Wednesday, Lt. Col. Ryan Charles G. Callanta, 30th commander, condemned the continued use of APMs by the NPA.

“APMs endanger the lives of civilians and create an atmosphere of fear in their villages that disrupt their daily activities, especially in going to their farmlands for living,” Callanta said.

He pointed out that the use of APM is a violation of the Republic Act 9851 or “An Act Defining and Penalizing Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity, Organizing Jurisdiction, Designating Special Courts, and for Related Purposes.”

Callanta also cited the support of the villagers that led to the recovery of the APM.

“This shows that our campaign against terrorism is significantly gaining headways and every effective,” Callanta said.

He also assured the people of Surigao del Norte that the Army will continue to secure and protect the peace-loving people of the province.

During the April 19 encounter, 30IB troopers also recovered two APMs laid by the NPA rebels in civilian trails after an encounter in Barangay Camam-onan, Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte. (PNA)

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