GPH peace panel strongly condemns NPA’s continued atrocities using landmines

May 27, 2013 11:58 pm 

MANILA, May 27 — Despite strong condemnation, New People’s Army (NPA) rebels continued to defy on the ban on the use of landlines as they exploded a roadside landmine during an ambush of a police convoy in Cagayan Valley Monday, killing eight members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and wounding seven others.

“We strongly condemn the killing by the NPA of eight members of the PNP's Special Action Force SAF) and wounding of seven others in a landmine blast and ambush by NPA guerrillas in Allacapan, Cagayan Valley this morning,” said a statement released by the peace panel of the Philippine Government (GPH) negotiating with the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF).

“We maintain that the use of landmines by the NPA is a gross violation of Republic Act 9851 or the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity as well as the Ottawa Protocol banning the use of landmines,” the statement said.

The use of landmines has been banned because of the massive and indiscriminate destruction to lives, including civilians.

There are two types of landmines: anti-personnel and anti-vehicle mines.

Anti-personnel landmines are prohibited under the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (or Mine Ban Convention), adopted in 1997. More than 150 countries have joined this treaty.

However, the NPA has continued the use of landmines through the years.

By its insistence on using landmines and its insistence on continuing a regime of violence instead of talking peace, the NPA turns a blind eye to the clamor of our people for a peaceful resolution of the armed conflict,” the GPH peace panel said.

“We grieve for the brave police officers and the other victims of this unconscionable crime and call on our government to pursue justice for those who have fallen victims to this senseless violence. We in the GPH panel vow to continue seeking avenues for talking peace that will result in the decrease or prevention of NPA atrocities. We call on CSOs, the churches and other peace stakeholders to say No to the CPP-NPA's violent acts,” it added.

The SAF troopers were on their way to Allacapan town in Cagayan some 400 km north of Manila when their convoy hit a roadside landmine planted by the NPA.

The PNP said that following the explosion of the landmine, NPA rebels who were positioned on an elevated position of the road.

Despite being hit first, the SAF troopers, the PNP’s commando unit, were able to fire back at the rebels reportedly belonging to the Danilo Ben Command.

The NPAs took with them the weapons of the dead SAF troopers.

The PNP has launched a hot pursuit operation against the rebels.

It was the latest landmine attack by the NPA.

Peace talks between the government and the NPA have bogged down due to the insistence of the communist guerrillas for the government to first release captured NPA leaders.

The government wants to proceed with the peace talks without precondition to end the 44-year old communist insurgency in the country. (PNA)

CTB/RBC/JSD

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