Gov’t troops on hunt for remaining terrorists in Marawi City

admin   •   October 17, 2017   •   3380


MANILA, Philippines — Six to eight foreign terrorists are among the 20 to 30 jihadists being hunted down by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) in Marawi City.

Most of these foreigners are Malaysians and Indonesians.

AFP spokesperson Major General Restituto Padilla said the military believes among these foreigners is the Malaysian lecturer Dr. Mahmud Ahmad, who is the remaining high-value target in the group.

Mahmud is said to be the financier of the terrorists who seized Marawi by channeling $300,000 to $600,000 worth of fund.

“He was the one responsible for the direct linkage of Hapilon to the larger group of the Daesh and it was he who provided the funding that was necessary to bankroll the siege in Marawi,” said the  AFP spokesperson.

The Department of National Defense (DND) denied Mahmud has replaced the slain Isnilon Hapilon as the new ISIS leader in Southeast Asia.

Meanwhile, the battle area in Marawi is contained to around 80 soldiers while the remaining number hostages of the terrorists are believed to be at 20.

The government assured it will run after the remaining terrorist groups in Mindanao.

Residents are not yet allowed to return to their houses until the city is fully cleared from booby traps and other explosive devices left by the terrorists.

Malacañang is appealing to the remaining enemies to surrender.

“With terrorist leaders gone, we call on all fighters to cease further resistance and violence and return to the road of peace. We commend our forces for their battlefield advances now nearing total victory. This has laid a strong foundation for peace and recovery,” said Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News and Rescue

 

Germany arrests four Tajiks suspected of planning attack against U.S. bases

UNTV News   •   April 15, 2020

German police on Wednesday (April 15) arrested four suspected members of Islamic State, all from Tajikistan, believed to have been planning deadly attacks in Germany, including against unidentified U.S. installations, an official said.

Special forces in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia made the arrests near the cities of Essen and Duesseldorf and raided properties in the area.

Prosecutors suspect the four men, with a fifth who has been in detention for the last year, of being in contact with leading members of Islamic State in Afghanistan and Syria and of receiving instructions from them.

“There were concrete attack plans, such as against two U.S. air bases in Germany,” said North Rhine-Westphalia’s state interior minister Herbert Reul.

Prosecutors said in a written statement they believed the suspects had already carried out surveillance of their targets and were procuring weapons, ammunition and components for a bomb.

Prosecutors identified the suspects as Azizjon B., Muhammadali G., Farhodshoh K. and Sunatullokh K., in line with German privacy rules. The fifth man who is already in detention was identified as Ravsan B. (Reuters)

(Production: Stephane Nitschke, Michele Sani)

AFP condemns mall blast in Cotabato City; eyes terrorists links

Marje Pelayo   •   January 1, 2019

 

CCTV footage of bombing at South Seas Mall in Magallanes Street, Cotabato City

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is looking at terrorist involvement in the bombing incident in a mall in Cotabato City on Monday (December 31).

In a statement, AFP Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal said though they consider the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and its breakaway group Daulah Islamiyah as “the ones with the wicked desire to sow terror and inflict harm to innocent civilians,” the military does not discount “the possibility of other interest groups aligned with the same evil intentions to be involved.”

Two individuals were confirmed dead while 34 others were injured in a suspected improvised explosive device (IED) found at the baggage counter of South Seas Mall in Magallanes Street, Cotabato City.

Investigation is underway. – Marje Pelayo

Marawi rehabilitation to kick off before end of October

admin   •   October 18, 2018

Aerial view of Marawi City via UNTV Drone

MARAWI CITY, Philippines — A year since President Rodrigo Duterte declared the liberation of Marawi City from terrorists on October 17, 2017, residents still cannot shake off the fear that a similar incident could descend upon them again.

“Yung takot di naman mawawala yun eh. Kasi ever since hindi nangyari sa amin itong ganito, tapos bigla na lang nangyari. Kaya sa puso namin may takot pa rin kami (The fear never goes away. We’ve never had any incidents until the battle broke out all of a sudden. That is why there is still fear in our hearts),” said Norfaidah Magdara, a businesswoman and resident of Marawi.

College student Salmiah Maca Agir echoed the same apprehensions.

“We feel secure na rin po pero may mga time pa rin po na natatakot ka kasi we never know po na may panahon na magkakaroon ng ganong pangyayari ulit (We feel secure in a way, but there are times that we still feel afraid because you don’t know when a similar incident will strike again),” she said.

Those who are still stuck in evacuation centers lament the long wait for the promised housing units.

“Even though sinasabi nla na liberated na nga pero yung idea na wala ka pa rin sa bahay mo wala ka pa rin sa sinasabi mong home (Even though they say we have been liberated, we still don’t have houses we can call home)” said Agir.

According to Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM), debris clearing operations in the most affected area will begin this month.

By the end of October they expect to finally hold the long-awaited ground breaking ceremony of the city’s rehabilitation which will be led by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“In the next few days we will see the deployment of heavy equipment, mga gamit na gagamitin sa (and materials needed for ) debris clearing in sectors 1&2,” TFBM field office manager. Asec. Felix Castro said.

Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra said the local government is grateful for all the assistance being given to them; however, they admit feeling frustrated by the slow progress of the rehabilitation efforts.

“Ako’y naiinip but at the same time naintindihan ko ang ating gobyerno. Ako po ay nasa gobyerno at alam ko ang proseso. Even sa local po yung pag iimplement natin ng mga projects dumadaan sa proseso (I am frustrated but at the same time I understand the government’s side. I am part of the government and I’m familiar with the process. Even in the local level, implementations of project go through a process),” he said.

At present, life in Marawi City is slowly returning to normal, particularly in Barangay Basak Malutlut where the battle began in May 2017. — Weng Fernandez

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