ZAMBOANGA CITY: The Philippine military said it found traces of human feces and snake venom in the wounds of soldiers injured in a recent landmine attack by communist rebels in Mindanao.
Capt. Alberto Caber, chief information officer of the Eastern Mindanao Command, quoting the findings, said the presence of feces and venom on the wounds of the soldiers are deadly to the victims.
The soldiers were wounded in a recent attack by the New People’s Army (NPA) in Compostela Valley province.
Caber said the use of landmines by rebels is already a violation of an international treaty and of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian law signed by rebels themselves in 1998.
Lt. Victor Dato, a medical officer assigned in Camp Panacan Station Hospital, said the feces and snake venom found on the wounds of soldiers are deadly to the victims. “We found it in the wounds of the soldiers during examination and treatment. It will aggravate the effect of landmines [sic],” Dato said.
Dato said the bacteria found in the wounds of the soldiers were Enterobacter cloacae and Streptococcus agalacteiae which is common in the human intestines.
This proves that the NPA contaminate these landmines with human or animal feces.
We have already had a patient who is a former NPA member and he attested to this practice when making landmines,” he said.
“Even more daunting is how one of the patients, who was seemingly stable and all of a sudden entered [sic]a state of shock. We found his leg to be in a severe state of infection, with blackening flesh. A similar pattern was exhibited by another landmine victim who died recently, whose flesh quickly deteriorated and blackened despite heavy antibiotic treatment and this effect is no longer as a result of the fecal bacteria, but possibly a deadlier venom ingredient,” Dato added.
Maj. Jake Thaddeus Obligado, commander of the 10th Civil Military Operations Battalion of the 10th Infantry Division, said the NPA attack was inhuman.
“This is no longer the act of a human being. This is simply inhuman. The risk to innocent lives of these landmines has just been increased exponentially by what has been discovered in these findings. We should all condemn the NPAs’ use of landmines to pressure the NPA to finally respect the ban on these inhuman devices,” he said.
Lt. Gen. Ricardo Rainier Cruz 3rd, the regional military chief, has condemned the continued of use of landmines by the NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
“This is a gross violation of human rights. This type of warfare shows the true nature of the NPAs as they want to kill people slowly. I hope that no civilians will become victims of this foolishness,” Cruz said.
The NPA, which is fighting for the establishment of a communist state in the country, has strongly denied the military allegations.
Rigoberto Sanchez, a spokesman for the NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Command, branded the military’s claim as “malicious and wildly concocted propaganda.”
“The New People’s Army Southern Mindanao Regional Command vehemently denies the malicious and wildly concocted military propaganda that NPA explosives were contaminated with poison and bacteria.
To insinuate that the NPA is engaged in a highly criminal biological and chemical warfare is, indeed, pure invention,” he said.
He said the NPA fighters have been using—in the last four decades—guerrilla warfare weapons, such as but not limited to command-detonated explosives made up of traditional, non-biologically toxic ingredients.