Suspected BIFF bomber nabbed in Maguindanao police ops

Robie de Guzman   •   April 22, 2021   •   258

MANILA, Philippines – The man allegedly behind the series of bombing incidents in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat has been arrested in a counter-terrorism operation, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Thursday.

PNP chief General Debold Sinas identified the suspect as Norton Saptula, 23, an alleged member of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter-Karialan Faction under chief staff Sukarno Sapal alias Diok.

He was said to be involved in the bombing incidents that transpired on August 28, 2018 in Brgy. Kalawag 3, Isulan, Sultan Kudarat that resulted in 36 wounded civilians and three deaths.

He was also accused of involvement in another incident on September 2, 2018 in Brgy. Kalawag 2, Isulan, Sultan Kudarat that resulted in 14 wounded civilians and two deaths.

Sinas said Saptula was also the 5th most wanted person in the SOCCSKSARGEN Region.

He was arrested on Wednesday in Poblacion, Ampatuan, Maguindanao when operating troops served a warrant of arrest against him for three counts of complex crime of murder with multiple frustrated murder.

The PNP said Saptula was booked at Ampatuan Municipal Police Station and was turned over to Isulan Municipal Police Station for documentation and proper disposition.

“The arrest of Saptula is a setback in the atrocities of the BIFF operating in Maguindanao area and nearby provinces. Moreover, this successful operation would likely affect the planned attacks of local and foreign terrorist organizations,” Sinas said.

Duterte to visit Cotabato following BIFF attack in Maguindanao – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   May 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will head to Cotabato on Tuesday following the clash between soldiers and some members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) over the weekend, Malacañang said.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the president will meet with the officials of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), and government security troops to discuss the incident in Datu Paglas, Maguindanao.

“Siya po ay makikipag-ugnayan sa BARMM officials, sa ating kapulisan, sa ating kasundaluhan at pag-uusapan nila kung paano maiiwasan yung insidente nga nung Linggo, kung saan ilang armadong miyembro ng BIFF ay panandaliang nag-occupy ng Datu Paglas pero sandali lang naman iyon at napaalis din sila ng hukbong sandatahan,” Roque said in an online briefing.

“Ang objective po ng Presidente, para iparating ang mensahe na hindi po niya puwedeng pabayaan ang kaniyang katungkulan na ipatupad ang batas,” he added.

On Saturday, around 20 BIFF members led by Mohiden Animbang a.k.a. Karialan occupied the Datu Paglas public market but state security forces drove them away before they could attack civilian residents.

“Dahil nga po doon sa insidente kung saan ilang miyembro ng BIFF ay panandaliang nagtungo sa Datu Paglas, ang kaniyang mensahe, ang warning niya po talaga, ipatutupad niya ang batas at hindi niya kukunsintihin ang paggamit ng dahas diyan po sa Maguindanao,” Roque said.

The military earlier said that the situation in Datu Paglas has already normalized but assured that security forces “will not rest until the threat is neutralized.”

Local officials and residents in Maguindanao were also urged to remain vigilant despite the thwarted attack of the armed group.

New PNP Chief assures no shaming, exercise for health protocol violators

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 10, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — New Philippine National Police (PNP) chief PGen. Guillermo Eleazar has assured that health protocol violators will not be shamed or be forced to exercise.

Eleazar clarified that individuals who are not wearing face masks or are not wearing face masks properly will be accosted but will be sent home after proper documentation and process. Violators will be taken to the nearest police station and will be investigated before receiving proper sanctions.

Walang makukulong dahil sa hindi pagsusuot lamang ng mask. Walang masasaktan. Walang mag- eexercise. Walang ipahihiya (No one will be imprisoned just because of not wearing masks. No one will be hurt. There will be no exercise. There will be no shaming),” he said.

If violators will be fined, Eleazar said, they will be given a ticket. If they will do community service, it will be scheduled. Violators will not be charged unless necessary.

Eleazar said the PNP will coordinate with the local government to make sure the city has holding facilities so as not to crowd police stations.

Ang bilin ko sa inyo, ang bilin ni Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año bago kayo mag-arestuhan tingnan nyo muna kung may paglalagyan kayo sa inyong opisina. Dahil ang ayaw naman natin kapag inaresto niyo iyan ay kumpol kumpol pa doon. So coordinate with your local government unit at barangay (My directive, as well as the directive of DILG Secretary Eduardo Año is, before any arrest, make sure there is a place in your office where you can put them. We don’t want them to cramp in one area once arrested. So, coordinate with your local government unit and the barangay), he said. -AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

AFP chief Sobejana calls for vigilance in Maguindanao after BIFF threat in Datu Paglas

Robie de Guzman   •   May 10, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff General Cirilito Sobejana called on local officials and residents in Maguindanao to remain vigilant despite the thwarted attack of the members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

“I enjoin the populace of and local leaders in Maguindanao to remain vigilant as we continue our watch until peace is stabilized,” Sobejana said in a statement.

On Saturday, around 20 BIFF members led by Mohiden Animbang a.k.a. Karialan occupied the Datu Paglas public market.

But state security forces drove them away before they could attack civilian residents.

No civilian or military casualties were reported.

Elements from the Joint Task Central and the 601st Infantry Brigade dealt with the group, which has been the subject of intense military operations for the past days, the AFP said.

Karialan and his group were said to be the ones behind the reported explosions in Datu Saudi Ampatuan in March 2021 and caused the death of two civilians and wounding of two others.

“The extremist groups were forced to withdraw in the same morning after security forces were able to isolate the area. The national highway was again open for public commuters at around 10:30 in the morning of the same day after the clearing of the area was confirmed by security forces,” JTF Central spokesperson Lt. Col. John Baldomar said.

The military recovered four improvised explosive devices left by the BIFF members.

Sobjana said the situation has already normalized but assured that security forces “will not rest until the threat is neutralized.”

“Let us continue to engage local government authorities, stakeholders, and civilians to ensure that peace and security in Datu Paglas and its neighboring towns are preserved,” Sobejana said.

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