Military clashed with ASG in Patikul, Sulu – AFP

Marje Pelayo   •   January 31, 2019   •   2856

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Members of the Philippine Army 1st Scout Ranger Battalion engaged in an encounter with some members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

According to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM), the soldiers clashed with the ASG’s sub-group Ajang-Ajang under Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan in the municipality of Patikul, Sulu.

The firefight lasted for five minutes before the enemies retreated.

The military believes that the group was with alias ‘Kamah’, the primary suspect in the Jolo cathedral bombing.

“This is after the airstrikes we conducted two days or three days ago. Tuloy tuloy ito. It’s been three days now, ang airstrikes doon at saka artillery shelling. The same group iyan ang may napatay the other day, si Umal Usop,” AFP Westmincom Spokesperson Col. Gerry Besana said.

Military offensives are now focused on the area of Patikul which is a known bailiwick of the bandits.

There were no casualties on the side of the government.

Authorities, meanwhile, are ongoing with its clearing operations to verify the number of casualties on the enemies’ side.

The AFP are now holding airstrikes over enemies’ camp while ensuring the safety of the civilians.

“it is our pledge to protect the rights of all Filipinos and all human being kapag may nagkakamali sa amin kaso ang aabutin namin and we do not tolerate any and any collateral damage,” Besana concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Dante Amento)

4 suspected Abu Sayyaf members arrested in Zamboanga City

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 26, 2019

Four suspected members of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) were arrested during the joint operation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Zamboanga City on Thursday (September 26).

The arrested individuals were identified as Aljiver Habibula, Omar Julaspih, Rody Marail, and Nash Amik who are all from Sulu province and are currently residing at Barangay Baliwasan, Zamboanga City.

Recovered from the operation are ingredients for Improvised Explosive Device (IED).

According to the PNP, they have been monitoring the suspects for several days. They also clarified they have not received any threats of bombing in Zamboanga City.

“Batay sa briefing ng ating intelligence division ay wala naman talaga tayong threat tungkol diyan. Hindi rin natin masasabi kung ito ba ay may plano (attack) para sa ating fiesta pilar (Based on the briefing of our intelligence division, there are no threats. We also cannot say if they have a planned attack for our festival),” Police Regional Office 9 Spokesperson PMaj. Helen Galvez said.

However, according to AFP Western Mindanao Command Spokesperson Maj. Arvin John Encinas, they received a report last month about the ASG’s plan to bomb various areas in the country.

Encinas said this is a part of ASG’s retaliatory attack because their number continues to decrease.

“Maliit na lang iyan pero mayroon silang kakayahan to conduct IED attacks (They may be small but they still have the capacity to conduct IED attacks),” he warned.

Due to this, he reminded the public to immediately report to the authorities any suspicious individuals in their area.

They can contact the PRO-9 office at 0917 506 2000.—AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

Bomb signature used in Patikul Bombing, same with what ASG uses – PNP BARMM

Maris Federez   •   August 14, 2019

Authorities secure the area outside a church following a bombing incident at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Jolo last January 27, 2019. (Photo: Armed Forces of the Philippines – Western Mindanao Command)

The Philippine National Police-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PNP-BARMM) office is looking into the possibility that the group of Abu Sayyaf leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan could be the one behind the series of bombings in Sitio Tibongbong, Barangay Igasan in Patikul, Sulu on Tuesday (Aug. 13).

PRO-BARMM director PBGen. Marni Marcos said the bombs used in the bombing at the Jolo Cathedral, at a military camp in Sulu and in Patikul bear the same signature.

Based on the shredded pipe gathered at the bomb site, same type of pipes were used as bomb cylinder.

“Sino ba yung nagpe-perpetrate ng mga ganyang terrorist act in the area? Iisa lang naman yung grupong binabantayan natin [Who else would perpetrate such terrorist acts in the area? There’s only one group that we are monitoring],” said Marcos.

Nevertheless, the police are still conducting a thorough investigation to ascertain whether some groups are copying Sawadjaan’s style.

Gen. Marcos will also meet the local chief executives in Sulu to ask them to encourage their constituents to cooperate with the authorities in their investigation on the said series of bombings.

He added that they will also talk with the Ulama in the area.

“Yung concern natin sa terrorism yung landscape niyan ay nag iba na. Meron na tayong Filipino suicide bomber. And worst is, mga bata o young people yung nire-recruit (What we are concerned about is that the terrorism landscape has already changed.  We now have Filipino suicide bombers. And worst is, they are recruiting the young people),” Marcos said.

“We should involve everybody. Hindi lang military o law enforcement unit ngayon ang inaano natin because it involves yung education, ano yung teaching at ano ba talaga yung tamang ituturo natin sa mga bata [We are not just focusing on military or law enforcement because it also involves education. What are the things that we should really teach the children],” he added.

Meanwhile, PNP chief PGen. Oscar Albayalde has admitted that there is a problem with security in the area and that they need the help and cooperation of the community.

“We have to be alert always.  Very important po ang participation ng community dito. Napaka importante ng impormasyon na ibibigay ng community dito para maubos at matigil na ang insidente na ito sa ating bayan [The community’s participation is very important. The information that the community will provide us is very important in curbing or stopping these incidents in our country],” the PNP chief said.

A member of the 43rd K9 Platoon of the Philippine Army was among the injured in Tuesday’s Patikul bombing. (with details from Lea Ylagan) /mbmf

PNP admits security problems in Sulu following twin blasts

Marje Pelayo   •   August 13, 2019

The scene outside the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo, Sulu after twin explosions ripped through it on January 27, 2019. | Courtesy of WestMinCom

SULU, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief General Oscar Albayalde admits there are security concerns in Sulu after the recent twin blasts in Patikul, Sulu.

Albayalde said that though the military and police are on high alert in the area, they still need the cooperation of the members of the community to combat terrorism.

“Talagang may problema tayo dyan sa lugar na yan and talagang merong nakakasingit sa mga ganyang insidente especially so kung talagang determined yung enemies of the state kung tawagin natin kaya talagang we have to be vigilant (We really have problems in that area and there really are such incidents. So if the enemies of the state are really determined, we have to be vigilant),” Albayalde said.

“We have to be alert always. Very important po ang participation ng community dito. Napaka importante ng impormasyon na ibibigay ng community dito para maubos at matigil na ang insidente na ito sa ating bayan (The information that we get from the community is very important to eliminate and curb [terrorism] in our country),” he added.

One soldier was wounded in the twin explosion that took place in Patikul, Sulu on Tuesday (August 13). – with details from Lea Ylagan

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