BUTUAN CITY – The Army’s 23rd Infantry Battalion seized several containers of ammonium nitrate, a bomb-making material, believed to be owned by the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in a remote area in the Agusan del Sur town of speranza.
1Lt. Roel Maglalang, 23IB civil-military operations officer, told Philippine News Agency Thursday (Aug. 13) that a farmer reported the discovery of the bomb-making materials in Barangay Maasin, Esperanza town, on Monday evening (Aug. 10).
Maglalang said the 23IB immediately sent a team to the area, which recovered four plastic containers with 85 packs of ammonium nitrates, a material used by the NPA in making improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
He said the materials for bomb-making belonged to the members of the Sub-Regional Committee 3 of the NPA’s North Central Mindanao Regional Committee.
In a statement Thursday, Lt. Col. Julius Cesar Paulo, 23IB commander, lambasted the NPA rebels for the “continuing threats they pose against the lives of the ordinary civilians” in the area.
Paulo pointed out that the recovered bomb-making materials could generate around 85 anti-personnel mines (APMs) that could inflict heavy damage to government troopers and civilians.
“Treaties in the country and abroad, particularly the Ottawa Treaty, Geneva Convention and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) strictly prohibit the storing and use of the improvised explosive device (IEDs), including the materials used for making bombs in areas populated by civilians,” Paulo said.
Sometime in June this year, the 23IB also seized 11 containers of ammonium nitrate and other bomb-making materials in the same barangay based on the report of concerned civilians in the area.
“The Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) directly threaten, disturb and put the lives of the civilians in the area in great risk by storing deadly explosives near the communities in the area,” Paulo said.
He added that the acts of the NPA rebels showed a “disregard for the rights of the civilians who wish to live peaceful lives in their communities”.
“Aside from planting APMs and concealing deadly explosives, the CNTs continue to disturb the populace in the area through extortions and manipulations,” Paulo added.
Paulo also lauded the villagers for reporting the presence of the bomb-making materials, saying this reflected their “disgust over the taxing atrocities, threats, and intimidations of the NPA rebels to the civilians”.
“Your cooperation gave us the strong motivation to continue our mission and do our best to serve and protect you from the threats of the CNTs,” Paulo said. Alexander Lopez /PNA – northboundasia.com