6 soldiers hurt in landmine blast in Quirino

CAGAYAN, Philippines – Six soldiers were hurt in a landmine blast in Nagtipunan town in Quirino province on Tuesday, July 11.

Captain Jefferson Somera of the 5th Infantry Division said the soldiers were aboard two military vehicles during the explosion in Barangay Sangbay around 8:30 am on Tuesday.

Somera said the troops from the 86th Infantry Battalion were headed to their tactical command post when the explosion happened.

The Army did not disclose the names of the injured soldiers, who were brought to two separate hospitals for medical treatment.

The Army blamed the New People's Army (NPA) for what it called a retaliatory attack on members of the 86IB, the unit that had earlier seized a rebel camp.

Major General Paul Atal, commander of the 5th Infantry Division, said the attack violated the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), the international rules of warfare, including the protocols on the use of mines and explosives.

The NPA had been known to use landmines against government troops despite the CARHRIHL, signed by the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front. Leftist groups had also accused the military of violating the agreement.

In August 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte warned the NPA that he would scrap peace negotiations with communist rebels if the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines would not stop using landmines.

The government and the NDF are eyeing the 5th round of formal peace negotiations  in August. – Rappler.com