Tuesday Nov, 19 2019 08:31:17 AM

Security in Central Mindanao tightened after Sulu bombing

Mindanao Armed Conflict • 14:00 PM Sun Jun 30, 2019
John M. Unson
Personnel of the Bangsamoro regional police. (Only for illustration)

COTABATO CITY --- Security in central Mindanao where there are Islamic State-inspired groups is markedly tight since Saturday following the deadly bombing of an Army base in Indanan, Sulu.

The Army’s 6th Infantry Division and the Bangsamoro regional police have deployed intelligence agents in strategic areas in the region to detect movements of all three factions in the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a known ally of the Abu Sayyaf operating in Sulu.

Security has also been tightened in parts of Lanao del Sur where there are remnants of the Maute terror group that the military and police have long tagged as “cooperator” of the Abu Sayyaf.

The Abu Sayyaf, the BIFF and the Maute are operating in the fashion of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, known for fomenting animosity towards non-Muslims.

Eight people, three of them soldiers, were killed while 22 others were hurt in Friday’s bombing by Abu Sayyaf bandits of the command post of the Army’s 1stBrigade Command Team in Indanan town in Sulu.

Brig. Gen. Marni Marcos of the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said Sunday intelligence units under him have enlisted the help of local officials and traditional leaders in putting closure to the incident.

Marcos said probers will immediately file cases against the culprits once identified.

Marcos said units of PRO-BARMM in Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur are now monitoring markets, public terminals and busy areas in the two provinces as part of their security measures meant to forestall terror attacks in the two provinces.

“We also have parallel security efforts in BARMM’s scattered Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Basilan provinces,” Marcos said Sunday.

Major Gen. Cirilito Sobejana of the Western Mindanao Command said they will not hesitate to use force to quell potential threats to Muslim, Christian and Lumad communities in the Bangsamoro region.

Sobejana assumed as WestMinCom commander only last Friday, replacing the Lt. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega, now retired.

“We and the PRO-BARMM are also focused on an in-depth investigation on the latest bombing in Sulu so that corresponding criminal cases can be filed against the perpetrators,” Sobejana said.

Sobejana said the WestMinCom is mourning the deaths of three soldiers killed in Friday's bombing in Indanan.  

Sobejana said they will facilitate the immediate transport of the cadavers of the three soldiers --- Privates 1st Class Dominique  Inte and Ricarte Alban and Cpl. Richard Macabadbad --- to their families in their hometowns.

Inte and Alban are both from Zamboanga del Sur province while Macabadbad hailed from  Payatas in Farview, Quezon City.

Sobejana said the families of the three soldiers had been informed of their deaths due to injuries sustained in the powerful blast that ripped through their command base in Indanan, a hostile town not too distant from Jolo, the capital town of Sulu.Sulu is a bastion of the Abu Sayyaf, a dreaded terror group with a reputation for beheading captives snatched outside of the island province if ransom demands are not met.

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