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Rebel landmine use goes up

Report suggests ammunition and manpower shortage

  • ucanews.com reporter, Manila
  • Philippines
  • April 9, 2013
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Landmines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) planted by communist New People's Army (NPA) rebels in the past 10 years have killed 113 people and injured 262 others, the military said today.
 
"The noted increasing trend on the use of IEDs by the NPA shows that the insurgents are shifting strategies due to their dwindling numbers and lack of firearms and ammunition," a study released by the Armed Forces of the Philippines said.
 
The study did not say how many of the 113 deaths were civilians and how many were government security forces.
 
Brig. Gen. Domingo Tutaan, head of the military's Human Rights Office, called for an "end to the useless armed violence."
 
Tutaan said the military has directed its tactical units to be vigilant and proactive when conducting security operations. 
 
The report also noted a number of communist rebels surrendered during the first three months of 2013. 
 
"Proof of their dwindling influence in communities and in their own ranks is that 77 [NPA] rebels left their lives in the mountains and returned to the democratic fold," the report noted.
 
The report showed a "significant increase" in rebel surrenders, said military spokesman Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos. 
 
He said the increase in rebel surrenders can be attributed to the Internal Peace and Security Plan Bayanihan, millitary campaign since January 2011.
 
The campaign aims to be “people-centered” rather than adopting a traditional military approach in an attempt to win the peace.
 
Military estimates place the rebel strength at about 4,000 men, from a high of more than 20,000 in the 1980s. Formal peace talks between the communists and government remain stalled.

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