DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / July 12, 2009) – Communist rebels ambushed an army truck ahead of ahead of a scheduled peace talks and killed a soldier and wounded three more in the southern Philippine province of Davao Oriental, officials said on Sunday.
Officials said some 30 New People’s Army rebels opened fire on the government soldiers after a roadside bombing in the village of Pintatagan in the town of Banay-Banay.
The attack occurred on Saturday afternoon hours after rebels also toppled three electrical poles in the village, said Captain Rosa Maria Cristina Manuel, a spokeswoman for the Army’s 10th Infantry Division.
“One soldier was killed and three others were wounded in the ambush,” she told the Mindanao Examiner. She said the truck was transporting more than a dozen soldiers.
She said the soldiers, members of the 2nd Light Armor Brigade, were on their way to secure government projects in the town when the rebels ambushed their truck.
“The troops were supposed to replace the personnel tasked to secure the construction of government projects when a pressurized landmine hit their vehicle,” Manuel said.
Troops, who were sent to rescue the soldiers, also clashed with the ambushers and the fighting lasted more than 20 minutes. She said the rebels briefly seized an undetermined number of civilians in the neighboring village of Puntalinao and used them as shield against pursuing soldiers.
Manuel said Colonel Romeo Calizo, commander of Army’s 1001st Infantry Brigade, has ordered troops to track down the rebels. “The rebels cannot face the soldiers squarely. They inhumanely used the civilians as shields for their escape and this is a gross disrespect to Human Rights and a violation of the International Humanitarian Law,” she said, quoting Calizo.
“Likewise, the Philippines is a signatory to the Ottawa Convention banning the use of landmines and under the United Nations’ Law on Armed Conflict, the uses of landmines are banned under article 809,” Calizo added.
Manila said it would resume stalled peace talks with communist rebels next month after negotiations collapsed in 2004. The NPA is fighting the past four decades for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)