The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has organized a unit to neutralize the anti-personnel mines (APMs) and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) being used by the New People’s Army (NPA).
The unit would accomplish their task by a combination of foot patrols and information drives. Intelligence will be gathered from civilians living in areas with active armed groups. Residents will likewise be informed on the threats of APMs and what to do if any are found in their communities.
“The AFP (has) acquired equipment for detection and neutralization of [emplaced] IEDs and landmines. We have organized a unit specializing on these skills,” said AFP public affairs office chief Col. Noell Detoyato on Friday.
“We (also) conduct counter-IED and mines training to our personnel,” he added.
Both the United States and the European Union recognize the NPA as a terrorist organization. Their use of deadly explosive devices is just one of their methods of violence. Both IEDs and APMs are threats to public safety. Civilians often fall victim to these over the course of armed conflicts.
“We also invoke the International Humanitarian Law provisions on the use of landmines and IED where there is a probability that civilians will become victims during times when (the) NPA and other armed groups use them,” Detoyato said.
Earlier this week, the military’s East Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) reported that 30 landmines were recovered in various areas of Compostela Valley, Surigao, and Butuan City. Troops found the buried explosive devices between January and early this month. The devices were allegedly planted by the NPA.