Twin blasts in Jolo, Sulu linked to Abu Sayyaf Group

Marje Pelayo   •   January 28, 2019   •   2914

|Photo courtesy of AFP WestMinCom

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) suspected possible links of the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) to the deadly twin explosions in Jolo, Sulu on Sunday morning (January 27).

Colonel Gerry Besana of the AFP Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) said that the group Ajang-Ajang, an ASG-affiliated armed group known for abduction and sowing terror in the area, has been identified as the perpetrators of the blast.

The military positively identified the group through a CCTV  footage recovered from the crime scene which showed some members of Ajang-Ajang entered the Mt. Carmel Cathedral and rushed outside before the two explosions happened.

“Iyan ang mga Abu Sayyaf na nandudoon sa city pagala-gala lang doon at sila ang mga itinuturo palagi na gumagawa ng atrocities laban sa ating mga kasundaluhan. At the same time gumagawa din ng mga kalokohan at panggugulo dyan sa bayan ng Jolo,” confirmed Besana, AFP Westmincom’s spokesperson.

“Ngayon ang kagandahan dito may lead na tayo at alam natin sino ang perpetrators ng pagpapasabog na ito,” he added.

The AFP-PNP joint investigation on the incident is now ongoing particularly the assessment of the signature prints on the recovered parts of the improvised explosive devices (IED) used by the suspects.

Meanwhile, former Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan believes the attacks had something to do with the recently concluded plebiscite for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

Tan suspects the incident was plotted by BOL supporters after they (Tan) voted ‘no’ for the BOL.

“They want to undermine our leadership in the province after the plebiscite, but we will never give in we won’t give in we will fight back and we are ready to fight,” Tan said. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Dante Amento)

AFP dismayed over the release of nine cops involved in Jolo shooting

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines has expressed dismay after the Philippine National Police released the nine cops involved in the shooting of four army men in Jolo, Sulu.

In a statement, AFP Spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo said that AFP Chief General Gilbert Gapay lamented the decision to release the involved cops and the lack of arrest warrants despite the charges filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“It is only unfortunate that despite the DOJ’s filing online of a multiple murder case before the Regional Trial Court in Jolo last 04 January 2021, no Warrants of Arrest have been issued by the court,” he said.

The nine cops are facing multiple murder charges in the Regional Trial Court in Jolo after the DOJ found probable cause for an indictment.

On Monday (January 11), PNP Chief Police General Debold Sinas announced that they have turned over the nine cops to the lawyers and their relatives since the national police no longer have the authority to detain them. Sinas also announced that the nine cops had been dismissed from police service.

Na-release na kasi walang warrant of arrest na binigay samin. We have coordinated with the DOJ at saka sa lahat hanggang ngayon wala po. So, ayaw po namin na ma charge kami ng arbitrary detention at tsaka pinirmahan ko pong dismissal ay implementable na po iyon. We turn them over to their relatives and lawyers (They have been released because there is no warrant of arrest. We have coordinated with the DOJ and until now, now warrant was issued. So we don’t want to be charged with arbitrary detention and I already signed the dismissal, it is already implementable. We turn them over to their relatives and lawyers), Sinas said. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Zamboanga City eyes restrictions vs travelers from Sabah, BaSulTa areas

Robie de Guzman   •   December 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The government of Zamboanga City is looking to implement a travel restriction for passengers coming from Sabah, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi (BaSulTa) areas amid reported cases of a new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) variant.

Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco said she has requested for a meeting with the city council to discuss the possibility of issuing a resolution on the proposed travel suspension.   

Climaco said the proposal follows the reported case of a new COVID-19 variant in Sabah, which is only a few hours away from Zamboanga City.

“We requested the Sangguniang Panglungsod to call for an emergency meeting for a resolution in order to have a moratorium of travel to Basulta and Tawi-Tawi, as well as Sabah,” she said.

The mayor further stated that the Philippine Navy has deployed three additional ships to Sitangkai Island in Tawi-Tawi, which is near Sabah, to monitor the area and prevent any passenger vessels from entering Zamboanga and BaSulTa areas.

Apprehended passengers and vessels will be turned over to their respective local government units to undergo a quarantine period, according to Climaco. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lalaine Moreno)

PH security forces foil bomb plot in Jolo, Sulu

Robie de Guzman   •   September 21, 2020

A bomb plot in the capital town of Jolo in Sulu province believed to have been orchestrated by local terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) was foiled by the Philippine security forces, the military said.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said, this is after the elements of the Philippine Coast Guard-Explosive and Ordnance Division (PCG) discovered a baggage that contained an improvised explosive device allegedly planted at the local port on Saturday.

The military added that a PCG patrol team found the abandoned baggage between the office of the Harbor Master and the Maritime Police Office at Jolo port.

A K9 unit deployed to the area confirmed that the baggage contained a bomb.

Operating troops of the 35th Infantry Battalion immediately cordoned off the area while the bomb squad carefully disarmed the explosive which was assembled using two electric blasting caps, a rifle grenade, a spark plug and concrete nails.

“I commend our troops and our partners for the accomplishment. You saved the lives of the innocent people and foiled this terroristic activity of our heartless enemies,” said Brig. Gen. William Gonzales, commander of the anti-terror Joint Task Force Sulu.

AFP Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. also commended the troops.

“This success is a result of the intensified conduct of intelligence operations and the strengthened collaboration with the police and other security agencies, thus preempting the terrorists from executing their terror plan. I commend the troops of the JTF Sulu for a job well done,” he said.

The military said tight security measures remain in place as government troops continue to pursue ASG leader Mundi Sawadjaan who was said to the brains of the twin bomb attacks in Barangay Walled City in Jolo barely a month ago that killed 14 people and injured others. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Val Villaflor)

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