DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 15, 2011) – Four government soldiers were wounded in a landmine explosion Friday in the southern Philippine province of Compostela Valley, officials said.
Officials said troops were securing a military humanitarian mission in the village of Parasanon in Maragusan town when the attack occurred at around 1.30 p.m.
The attack, staged by New People’s Army rebels, sparked a fierce firefight that lasted for 2 hours. There were no reports of rebel casualties.
“Troops were securing the peace and development teams conducting community outreach program in the area when the landmine exploded. This ensued to a successive fire fights that lasted for almost two hours against the NPA members,” said Lieutenant Colonel Lyndon Paniza, a regional army spokesman.
“NPA outlaws continuously opt to be blind and deaf in the call to stop using improvised landmines despite its prohibition slated under the 1997 Ottawa Convention. Despite the incident our continued effort and commitment towards a genuine peace and development in the area remain,” he said.
Paniza said troops also recovered some 300 meters of wire used in making landmines.
The attack came a day after communist rebels seized two soldiers and a former village official also engaged in peace and development efforts in the village of Datu Inda in North Cotabato’s President Roxas town.
“The duo was part of the 57th Infantry Battalion team coordinating with village officials for the conduct of peace and development outreach programs in the area,” said Major Marlowe Patria, a spokesman for the 6th Infantry Division.
He said troops were sent to the town to track down and rescue the hostages.
There was no immediate statement from the rebels who are fighting for decades for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country. But the rebel group has previously accused the military of using peace and development efforts as a cover to launch attacks against the New People's Army in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)