AFP continues focus operations vs Abu Sayyaf group to rescue remaining hostages
admin • June 14, 2016 • 3421
ZAMBOANGA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is not daunted by the latest beheading of the Abu Sayyaf group (ASG) to one of its captives.
According to AFP-Western Mindanao Command, the military is constantly conducting focus operations in Sulu to eliminate the bandits and rescue the remaining captives.
“Our operation is ongoing and we are not ceasing. I believe we are gaining ground but we cannot rush things,” said spokesperson Maj. Felimon Tan.
Based on AFP intelligence report, the bandits still have six captives including the Norwegian national Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipina Marites Flor who were kidnapped at Samal island in Davao del Norte last year.
They were with Canadian nationals John Ridsdel and Robert Hall. The latter was allegedly the latest to be beheaded because the government refused to give ransom money.
The military believes that the Abu Sayyaf is moving on a limited territory, however, they don’t want to rush the operation as it would jeopardize the lives of the remaining captives.
The AFP admits that the bandits are more familiar with the terrains so they need to be more careful.
“Our military knows how to address the problem but we cannot rush things. We should also consider the safety of the kidnap victims and the safety of our soldiers as well. We cannot use them as bait. That is not our tactic,” explained Maj. Tan.
Meanwhile, the AFP revealed that they have received information about the bandits’ plan to dispose the decapitated body of the beheaded foreigner.
It is also possible that a sub-group of the ASG was the one who did the beheading to divert the attention of authorities.
Facebook has removed over hundreds of fake accounts for engaging in “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”
In a statement, the social media giant said it removed 155 accounts; 11 Pages; 9 Groups and 6 Instagram accounts. These networks reportedly originated in China. It also removed 57 Facebook accounts; 31 Pages and 20 Instagram accounts where its networks originated in the Philippines and focused on domestic audiences.
Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of security policy, said these accounts and pages posted about local news and events including domestic politics, military activities against terrorism, pending anti-terrorism bill, criticism of communism, youth activists and opposition, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)and its military wing the New People’s Army (NPA), and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
“Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our investigation found links to Philippine military and Philippine police,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines on Wednesday (September 23) clarified that none of their maintained accounts were shutdown but is still looking into Facebook’s report.
“There are no accounts that the AFP maintain that were shutdown or removed by Facebook. All of them are up and running. The AFP upholds truth and accountability of network and SocMed account managers as to the contents of postings in our websites, pages, and accounts,” their statement reads. AAC
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)
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