Army condemns rebels’ barbaric use of APMs

Army condemns rebels’ barbaric use of APMs

MANILA – Describing it as barbaric and desperate, the Philippine Army (PA) condemned “at the highest level” the terrorist Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) for its continuous use of anti-personnel mines (APMs), especially its recent attack in Jipapad, Eastern Samar that left three persons dead and scores wounded.

“The continuous use by members of the terrorist NPAs of anti-personnel mines that have been banned since 1997 is a blatant violation of International Humanitarian Laws (IHL) and displays the true nature of the CPP-NPA-NDF — lawless terrorists and cowards who attack unarmed soldiers and off-duty Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) active auxiliaries doing non-combat duties,” Maj. Gen. Pio Diñoso III, 8th Infantry Division commander, said in a statement on Thursday.

Diñoso said the CPP-NPA-NDF used APMs in the killing of T/Sgt. Junar Carpila and CAFGU members Mark Donald Lomuntad and Geremias Etcobanas. Six others were also wounded.

He said “these are the latest acts of desperation by the CTGs (Communist Terrorist Groups)” which took place near an under-construction military detachment located at Sitio Cabatas in Barangay 4 on Wednesday.

The military said the wounded — Edwin Adamero, Francis Legarse, Manny Maestre, Ronilo Porton, Jeffrey Pajanustan and Helbert Pajanustan, are all militiamen.

An undetermined number of communist rebels were also believed killed and wounded in the ensuing firefight.

“This recent attack is a desperate act of these terrorists as the campaign to defeat them has reached an irreversible stage. With their backs against the wall, it is expected they will resort to their old barbaric ways,” he stressed.

He assured the people of Eastern Visayas that the government’s campaign using the whole-of-nation approach to end the communist insurgency is very effective and on track.

“Let this small setback further strengthen our resolve to finally put an end to the CPP-NPA-NDF and make the region attain the just and lasting peace it aspires for. With that, our soldiers’ ultimate sacrifices will not be in vain,” Diñoso added.

The use of both manufactured and improvised APMs, including improvised explosive devices (IED), are prohibited under IHL as they do not discriminate between innocent civilians and combatants.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has so far recorded more than 141 incidents involving production, stockpiling, transporting and use of these banned weapons by the NPA, injuring or killing more than 30 civilians.

The NPA earlier categorically admitted to killing university football player Kieth Absalon and a relative last June 6 in Masbate City by detonating an improvised APM while they were biking.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)

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