NAGTIPUNAN, Quirino: Six soldiers were wounded after a landmine allegedly planted by the communist New Peoples Army (NPA) rebels exploded in Barangay Sangbay here on Tuesday morning.
1Lt. James Carl Teaño, Army Civilian-Military Operations officer of the 86th Infantry “Highlander” Battalion (86IB), 5th Infantry Division (5ID), said the soldiers based in Barangay Dipantin here were on their way to conduct a community support program with barangay and civic leaders.
The soldiers, belonging to the Bravo Company of the 86IB, onboard two Korean-made KM 450 military trucks were approaching Sangbay village when the landmine exploded wounding six of them.
They were identified as TSgt. Rhae Bolhayon, Sgt. Jose Soriano, Cpl. Edmar Angca, and Private First Class Dakilas Duclan, Jerry Manalo and Jarid Talay.
Three of them were already declared out of danger, while the three were in critical condition as of Tuesday afternoon, military officials said.
The military vehicles, slightly damaged from the explosion, were used to bring the wounded soldiers to the nearest hospital.
The land mine was a pressurized release-type mine that immediately explodes when stepped on or even touched.
Lt. Col. Jose Vladimir Cagara, commanding officer of the 86IB, said they are investigating the incident further with the Philippine National Police in Quirino province.
”It is saddening that while our soldiers are delivering their community and security services to the villagers, they fall victims of rebel atrocities,” Cagara said.
It may be recalled that the use of land mines is prohibited under the 1949 Protocols of the Geneva Convention because of its harmful effects particularly on civilians.
The military believes the explosion was meant as retaliation of the communist rebels after the soldiers seized a large NPA encampment where rebel documents and war materials were seized on July 4 in Barangay Disimungal, also in Nagtipunan.
On April 29, about 150 members of the communist NPA raided Maddela town’s police station killing a policeman and carting away 10 firearms.
The rebels based in Quirno have not issued any statement regarding the attack.
THOM F. PICAÑA AND LEANDER C. DOMINGO