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Mario J. Mallari

10 soldiers wounded in ASG bomb attack

Friday, 22 August 2014 00:00 Published in Nation

Ten government troops were wounded after a roadside bomb, believed to have been planted by Abu Sayyaf terrorists, exploded in Basilan province yesterday morning.

Lt. Col. John Paolo Perez, commander of the Army’s 18th Infantry Battalion (IB), said that an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded along Crossing Sungkayot at the boundary of Ungkaya Pukan and Tipo-Tipo towns at around 9:45 a.m.
Perez said that the troops, who were deployed in the area to secure government projects, were subsequently fired upon by the ambushers, believed to be Abu Sayyaf terrorists under the group of Furuji Indama.
Nine soldiers and a militiaman were wounded during the explosion. The military vehicle was total wreck, Perez said.
He added that the soldiers managed to engage the Abu Sayyaf ambushers, number in about 15 terrorists.
“The troops while securing government projects were landmined, then there was encounter,” said Perez.
According to Perez, the troops were aboard a military vehicle when they were hit by the landmine.
He said that other Army units managed to reinforce the engaged troops of 18th IB, prompting the Abu Sayyaf ambushers to flee.
“Within five minutes, our troops managed to react,” Perez said.
As of press time yesterday, Perez said that government troops are still clearing the encounter site.
He theorized that the attack was meant to avenge recent losses by the Abu Sayyaf against the government forces in Basilan.
“They lost several commanders and members in June and July…I think this is a retaliation and at the same time harassment against government projects,” Perez said.
Capt. Franco Suelto, spokesman of 1st ID, said that the government casualties were brought to Camp Navarro Station Hospital for medical treatment.
Meanwhile a wanted Abu Sayyaf terrorist was arrested by the combined military and police elements during an operation in Zamboanga City last Tuesday night.
Capt. Franco Suelto, spokesman of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division (ID), identified the arrest Abu Sayyaf man as Nur Hassan, alias Hassan.
Hassan was nabbed by combined elements of the 1st ID and Zamboanga City police at the vicinity of Port Area in Zamboanga City.
The Abu Sayyaf terrorist is the subject of arrest warrants issued by Judge Leo Jay Principe of the Basilan Regional Trial Court Branch 1 in Isabela City, and Judge Danilo Bucoy of the Basilan RTC Branch 2 also in Isabela City.
Hassan was tagged in the abduction of rubber plantation workers in Tairan, Lamitan in 2001 and the siege of Jose Torres Hospital also in Lamitan.
The suspect was subsequently placed under custody at Camp Batalla in Cawa-Cawa.

Underperforming police commanders should start shaping up or prepare to be shipped out.
This was the warning issued by Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II who directed National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Carmelo Valmoria to up the ante of police performance in Metro Manila.
“What we need here is to raise the ante of their performance. If they cannot keep up with our standards, you should fire them (underperforming PNP officers),” Roxas said.
“I do not care who their padrinos are. We should replace them ASAP if they cannot perform according to what is expected of them,” the DILG chief added.
Roxas, at the same time, instructed Valmoria to find more ways to improve the NCRPO’s anti-crime drive.
“We have to continuously think of ways on how to improve further our anti-criminality campaign. We must determine if we need to change our anti-crime tools or determine if it’s the leadership that we need to change,” Roxas told Valmoria.
Valmoria recently relieved two police officials.
Supt. Bernard Tambaoan, chief of the Caloocan City police, was relieved last August 14 “due to certain deficiencies in administrative performance.”
Five days later, Valmoria also relieved Supt. Luis Rafinan Francisco Jr., station commander of the Manila Police District’s Station 11, for his failure to reduce crime incidents in his area of responsibility.
Roxas branded the relief of Francisco and Tambaoan as a clear signal for other police officials to shape up.
“The leadership of NCRPO has sent a strong signal to all chiefs of police and station commanders in Metro Manila that they will be relieved of their posts if they cannot keep up with their performance to bring down crime incidents in their areas of responsibility,” Roxas said.
As part of the NCRPO’s intensified anti-crime efforts, Valmoria ordered the deployment of additional troops in identified crime-prone areas as pro-active measure.
More than 100 policemen were sent out from the National Headquarters and the NCR-Public Safety Battalion to police stations which recorded high incidence of index crimes.
Valmoria also deployed 932 police trainees in the five police districts in the NCR to add muscles to the regular police force. The NCRPO has enhanced checkpoint operations.

100 Pinoy Muslims leave to join Iraqi jihadists

Thursday, 21 August 2014 00:00 Published in Nation

At least 100 Filipino Muslims have reportedly slipped out of Mindanao for Iraq to train to become jihadists, former President Ramos revealed Tuesday night.
In a broadcast interview, Ramos said that the homegrown terrorist group Abu Sayyaf is now “encouraged” over the successes of Islamic State (IS), formerly known as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), in Iraq and Syria.
“The Abu Sayyaf group is now being encouraged by the success of the ISIS and ISIL in Iraq,” said Ramos.
“The report that has been reaching some of us who are retired people who are knowledgeable about Mindanao is that at least 100 of our young Filipino Muslims have already somehow infiltrated into Iraq to undergo training so they can come back and become jihadists,” he added.
It was not known, however, when and how the Filipino Muslims left for Iraq.
But Ramos said that the Filipino Muslims are yet to return.
“This is a repetition of some of the MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front) history during the Afghan war. They had a group of 90 that included two brothers who started the Abu Sayyaf, Abdurajak and Khaddafy,” said Ramos, referring to Abdurajak and Khaddafy Janjalani.
Abdurajak was among the founding leaders of Abu Sayyaf. He was killed in 1998 during an encounter with government troops. Khaddafy emerged as among the top commanders of ASG but was also killed in 2006.
“To them, it is a heavenly mission that is higher, more scared than any national interest,” said Ramos.
Prior to Ramos’ revelation, the ASG, through top commander Isnilon Hapilon, and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), have come up with video clips expressing support and allegiance to IS.
BIFF spokesman Abu Misry Mama, however, said they have not sent fighters to Iraq.
There were previous reports that Filipino militants have actually joined IS in its cause in Iraq and Syria.
However, a military intelligence officer denied having monitored Muslim Filipinos going to Iraq to fighti alongside IS, which now controls large swathes of Iraq and Syria.
AFP spokesman Maj. Gen. Domingo Tutaan Jr. downplayed claims of allegiance by the Abu Sayyaf and BIFF to the IS.


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