Tuesday, April 21, 2020

NPA hit for planting lethal explosives in Surigao Sur village

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 21, 2020): NPA hit for planting lethal explosives in Surigao Sur village (By Alexander Lopez)

NPA LANDMINES. Government troops recover four anti-personnel improvised landmines after an encounter Sunday (April 19, 2020) in Sitio Sparcoot, Barangay Gata in San Agustin, Surigao del Sur. The explosives, planted on a farm trail, posed great danger to the lives of the residents in the area, military officials say. (Photo courtesy of 3SFBn)

The military condemned Tuesday the communist New People’s Army (NPA) for planting deadly landmines in a farm trail regularly utilized by the farmers in San Agustin town, Surigao del Sur.

In a joint statement, the Army’s 401st Brigade (401Bde) and the 3rd Special Forces Battalion (3SFBn) said the NPA endangered the lives of civilians when the rebels planted anti-personnel improvised landmines in Sitio Sparcoot, Barangay Gata, San Agustin, on Sunday (April 19).

A 10-minute firefight ensued after government troops responded to the scene, recovering an AK-47 magazine filled with ammunition, subversive documents, and the four anti-personnel improvised landmines after the clash.

No casualties were reported on the government side, said 1Lt. Krisjuper Andreo Punsalan, the civil-military operations officer of 3SFBn.

Lt. Col. Joey Baybayan, 3SFBn commander, noted that the landmines planted along the farm trail posed a great danger not only to the soldiers but also to the civilians who regularly use it to visit their farms.

“The CNTs (Communist NPA Terrorists) showed no regard to the lives and security of the farmers and residents in the area,” Baybayan said.

He also denounced the NPA’s violations of the extension of the ceasefire the communist rebel movement earlier declared.

“We all know that time and again, the CNTs violate any ceasefire agreement. The definition of ceasefire for them is a deceptive means to prepare and buy time for future terroristic attacks,” Baybayan, said.

Col. Allan Hambala, 401Bde commander, said the Army “will remain steadfast in fulfilling its role in the implementation of community quarantines in local government units (LGUs) in response to the threats of Covid-19 (2019 coronavirus disease)".

“With the CNTs’ recent attempt to hamper the distribution of social amelioration cash in Agusan del Sur which resulted to the Army’s recovery of five high-power firearms, we should have no let-up in continuing our efforts to secure the seamless delivery of government services amid the Covid-19 crisis,” Hambala said.

He said the recent NPA attacks on government troops and civilian population alike showed that "the CNTs’ declaration of a ceasefire and their false hopes in the peace talks can never be trusted".

“We will only believe their sincerity in achieving lasting peace if they (their leaders and elements) will come down and surrender themselves and their firearms peacefully and return to the folds of the law,” Hambala said.

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


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