MANILA, Philippines – Five suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) were killed and two soldiers were injured in an encounter between the government troops and the terrorist group in Zamboanga Sibugay on Wednesday (September 9).
Lieutenant Colonel Don Templonuevo, commander of the 44th Infantry Batallion said the clash happened during a joint military and police pursuit operations in Barangay Pres. Roxas, RT Lim in Zamboanga Sibugay around 2 a.m.
Templonuevo said the encounter was the result of their pursuit operations against armed elements of Abral Abdusalam and Sahibad group led by Furuji Indama, an ASG leader based in Basilan.
The clash follows an earlier gun battle between the military and the local terrorist group in Barangay La Paz, Alicia in Zamboanga Sibugay on Sept. 6, he added.
The military said government troops were also able to recover four high-powered firearms after the 30-minute clash against the 10 Abu Sayyaf Group member.
Pursuit operation against the ASG is still on-going.
Brig. Gen. Leonel Nicolas, Commander, 102nd Infantry Brigade, said the group was supposedly planning to conduct kidnapping activities in the region based on information they received from a reliable source.
“The unit would also like to thank the locals who tipped-off the authorities of the presence of these terrorist groups which resulted to the timely response of our troops,” Nicolas said.
Meanwhile, the two wounded soldiers, whose identities are yet to be disclosed, were airlifted to Camp Navarro General Hospital, Zamboanga City for proper medical attention.
Both soldiers are now in stable condition, the military reported.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is eyeing to monitor social media, evacuation centers, schools, and orphanages to help prevent terrorists to recruit the youth and train them as suicide bombers.
In an interview on ‘Get it Straight with Daniel Razon’, AFP Spokesperson MGen. Edgard Arevalo said there is a risk that the youth would be easier to be persuaded by the radicalized ideas of terrorist groups.
“Nakikipagtulungan tayo sa mga local government officials upang ito ay maagapan natin na hindi makapasok na maaring mag-recruit at lumason sa kanilang isipan (We are coordinating with local government officials to prevent terrorists from recruiting and poisoning the youth’s minds),” he said.
The AFP also advised parents to also monitor their children and be aware of their activities.
Meanwhile, Arevalo expressed his gratitude to several LGUs in Sulu that declared the Abu Sayyaf Group as persona non grata.
From 1991 to June 2020, around 100 suicide bombing incidents were recorded in Sulu. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)
MANILA, Philippines – Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Lieutenant General Gilbert Gapay on Wednesday clarified that the military has no intention of imposing “prior restraint” on freedom of expression when he proposed the regulation of social media under the controversial Anti-Terrorism Law.
Gapay made the clarification during the deliberation of the Commission on Appointments on his nomination to a rank of a general.
He said his proposal is not tantamount to curtailing the people’s freedom of expression as he stressed that the goal is to regulate social media platforms and service providers and not its users.
Gapay said that based on intelligence reports and their experience, terrorist groups often use the social media and the internet to recruit new members and solicit money and support from their sympathizers and other sources to fund their criminal acts.
“These terror cells are operating particularly in the dark web in the internet. And these are the things that we really want to regulate and address because they really communicate with each other through the internet,” he said.
“That is why in close coordination with social media platforms, perhaps we could come up with mechanisms on how to address these acts enumerated in the 2020 Anti-Terror Law,” he added.
Gapay earlier said he wants to include a provision that will regulate the usage of social media in the implementing rules and regulations of the controversial measure. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)
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