NPAs use landmines in Agusan Sur attack

- Mike Baños () - August 27, 2006 - 12:00am
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — The New People’s Army (NPA) continues to use landmines to isolate hinterland villages.

In the latest incident, some 30 NPA guerrillas used landmines to ambush a military truck along Kilometer 9 in Barangay Marban, Talacogon, Agusan del Sur Friday, killing a soldier of the Charlie Company of the Army’s 29th Infantry Battalion and wounding a young farmer and three members of the Special CAFGU Active Auxiliary (SCAA). Three rebels were killed in the ensuing firefight.

Military officials believe the NPA planted the landmines to cut the La Paz-Talacogon Road and adversely affect the livelihood of the residents, making them easier to recruit into the underground movement.

The communist movement "has become desperate that even children are not spared by their anti-people acts," said Brig. Gen. Jose Barbierto, commander of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, after NPA snipers shot a young farmer in the leg during the ambush.

Men of the 29th IB, led by Lt. Col. Amador Tabuga Jr., have launched pursuit operations against the rebel-ambushers, believed to be members of the Front Committee 88 of the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA’s Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee.

Maj. Samuel Sagun, public affairs chief of the 4th ID, cited recent NPA atrocities, including an ambush in Barangay Samay, Balingasag, Misamis Oriental last July 15 where two children of pro-government militiamen were hit and later died in the hospital.

In another landmine explosion, 15 civilians on board a passenger jeepney were critically wounded in Sitio Cabariot Cabugi in Unidos, Tago, Surigao del Sur last July 24.

According to Sagun, NPA rebels stole vehicles at a checkpoint they had set up along the highway in Borobo and San Francisco towns in Agusan del Sur last July 19.

In the early 1970s, Sitio Lantad in Barangay Kibanban, Balingasag town gained notoriety when the NPA established a "shadow government" there.

The insurgents built an impregnable ring of foxholes and trenches and planted claymore mines and other banned anti-personnel mines in the village.

The Philippines is a signatory to the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction.

The Philippines signed the treaty on Dec. 3, 1997, as one of its original signatories, and ratified it on Feb. 15, 2000.

In related developments, two NPA guerrillas and an Army private were killed while a rebel and two soldiers were wounded in encounters in Albay and Laguna last week, the military said.

In Albay, Col. Manny Orduña, commanding officer of the Army’s 65th Infantry Battalion, said residents of Barangay Del Rosario, fed up with the insurgents’ extortion activities, sent a text message last Friday to the military unit in Barangay Tula-Tula in Ligao City about the presence of heavily armed rebels in their community.

A nine-man Army group rushed to the village but was fired at by 20 rebels, triggering a 30-minute firefight that left two insurgents and a certain Pfc. Isagani Balictar dead. A guerrilla named Jimmy Geralde was captured.

In Laguna, two soldiers, identified as Pfc. Valentino Domingo and Pvt. Rodolfo Escoreal, both belonging to the 1st Infantry Battalion based in Cavinti, Laguna, were wounded in an hour-long clash with 15 NPA rebels in Magdalena town last Thursday morning.

Lt. Col. Roderick Parayno, public information officer of the Armed Forces Southern Luzon Command, said the soldiers led by S/Sgt. Edwin Acorda were patrolling Barangay Ilayang Atingay when they chanced upon the rebels. — With Jaime Laude, Celso Amo, Arnell Ozaeta and James Mananghaya

ACTIVE AUXILIARY AGUSAN ALBAY AND LAGUNA AMADOR TABUGA JR. ARMED FORCES SOUTHERN LUZON COMMAND ARNELL OZAETA AND JAMES MANANGHAYA BALINGASAG BARANGAY DEL ROSARIO BARANGAY ILAYANG ATINGAY INFANTRY BATTALION NPA
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