AFP monitors foreign terrorist activities in Western Mindanao

Marje Pelayo   •   August 14, 2019   •   276

Interoperability Exercise between the Philippine Air Force, Philippine Navy, and the Philippine Army during AFP Joint Exercise (DAGIT-PA) on August 2018. | 📷Divino Lozano

MANILA, Philippines – At least seven foreign terrorists are currently under the surveillance of the military, according to the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom).

The alleged terrorists, mostly Asians, are reportedly active in Central Mindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi (BASULTA) area conducting series of training on manufacturing and use of improvised explosive devices (IED) and other explosives, according to Major Arvin John Encinas.

“We believe nadiyan pa rin iyan within sa area natin (We believe they are still present within our area),” Encinas said.

“Particularly diyan sa Jolo na kung saan ito yung priority of concern natin kung kaya’t mas lalo po nating pinalakas ang ating tropa (Particularly in Jolo where [terrorism] is our primary concern. That’s why we are strengthening our troops [in the area]),” he added.

The series of twin bombings in Sulu this year, the latest was on Tuesday (August 13), were influenced by these terrorists, according to Encinas.

The AFP Westmincom spokesperson said these foreign terrorists are being protected by the Abu Sayyaf bandits.

This prompted the military to reiterate its call to the public not to be easily swayed by misinformation or spread unverified messages while it assures that all intelligence units of concerned government law enforcement agencies are constantly working to curb terrorism.

Still, the military fervently appeals for cooperation from communities especially after President Rodrigo Duterte issued Executive Order No. 70 which institutionalizes a “whole-nation approach” against insurgency through a collaboration from authorities, local government units, and the residents.

“Mahikayat po natin ang mga mamamayan na magsumbong po sa atin (We encourage our communities to report to us),” Major Encinas noted.

“Magreport  kung may nakikita po silang kahina-hinalang bagay o tao sa kanilang lugar upang sa ganun nga ay ma-pre-empt po natin itong mga pagtatangka (Report to us if they notice suspicious things or persons in their areas so that we could preempt any threat),” he concluded. – MNP (with details from Dante Amento)

AFP rescues abducted teacher in Sulu

Marje Pelayo   •   October 18, 2019

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – After exactly 20 days in captivity, authorities finally rescued 58-year-old teacher, Rosa Singua who was abducted in Jolo, Sulu on September 27.

The public school teacher was released after days of military surveillance and a payoff operation wherein the victim’s sister paid P283,000 ransom money at the Jolo port as part of the entrapment operation.

“Dalawa po sa mga abductors ang nakuha natin at tuloy-tuloy ang ating follow up operation ay makuha po natin yung iba pang mga kasamahan nila, (Initially, we arrested two of the abductors but after a series of follow up operations, we were able to arrest the rest of their cohorts),” explained Major Arvin John Encinas, the AFP Western Mindanao Command Spokesperson.

Two of the suspects were identified as Nurina Jura and Nurjia Asakil. Authorities are still verifying as to which group abducted Singua.

Meanwhile, the AFP remains positive that they will be able to rescue a British national and his Filipina wife who were also abducted by unidentified armed men in Tukuran town.

 “Saka tayo magsasabi kung ano man yung mga nakuha naming impormasyon (We will divulge the information as) to what lead to the rescue later on,” concluded Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejena, AFP Westmincom Commander. MNP (with reports from Dante Amento)

AFP: Kin of Abu Sayyaf leader killed in Sulu

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 12, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Members of the Abu Sayyaf Group

The brother of an Abu Sayyaf leader was killed during an encounter with the military forces in Sulu on Tuesday (September 10).

The soldiers identified the neutralized terrorist as Nanz Sawadjaan, the younger brother of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) sub-leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan.

The 41st Infantry Battalion conducted a focused military operation in Sitio Tubig Pansol, Barangay Langhub, Patikul, Sulu.

They encountered 40 ASG members under Almujer Yadah, Ben Tattoh, and Apo Mike. The heavy firefight lasted for 20 minutes until the military was able to overrun the enemy encampment.

Two soldiers were injured during the encounter.

According to Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, the troops are still conducting pursuit operations.

“Our troops remain persistent in tracking down and neutralizing the remaining terrorists in Sulu,” he said.

“The successful operations of our troops are also attributed to the local community who feeds information, directing our troops to the terrorists’ location,” he added.—AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Suicide bombing rocks Indanan, Sulu

UNTV News   •   September 8, 2019

A bomb exploded anew in the municipality of Indanan, Sulu on Sunday (September 8) afternoon.

An unidentified suicide bomber attacked a military detachment in Barangay Kajatian, Indanan, Sulu at 5:45pm.

Troops from the 351B Battalion immediately proceeded to the area for possible reinforcement. They were promptly followed by intelligence operatives for initial investigation.

The military’s Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) said in a statement that the attacker was a long-haired foreign looking woman based on the recovered mutilated head. However, the recovered dismembered hand resembles that of a man.

The report further adds that the bomber was wearing an abaya attire, a full-length outer garment traditionally worn by some Muslim women.

Apart from the suspect, no other casualties were reported.

The WestMinCom assured that government forces will continue peace and security efforts to prevent hostile acts that may “disrupt the peace and development in the Bangsamoro Region.”

The bombing comes on the heels of yesterday’s blast in Sultan Kudarat where an improvised explosive device went off at a public market in Isulan, injuring seven people.

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