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AFP steps up patrol checkpoints in Kudarat

 

By FRANCIS T. WAKEFIELD

 

AUTHORITIES investigate the area where another IED explosion happened last night at Brgy. Kalawag 2, Isulan, Sultan Kudarat that left two dead and 13 others injured.

AUTHORITIES investigate the area where another IED explosion happened last night at Brgy. Kalawag 2, Isulan, Sultan Kudarat that left two dead and 13 others injured.

THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yesterday said that it has intensified the conduct of checkpoints in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat following another blast that rocked the town Sunday night.

In a statement, AFP Spokesman Col. Edgard Arevalo, said military units on the ground have further intensified the conduct of checkpoints in all of the town’s entry and exit points to prevent terrorists from again placing IEDs (improvise explosive device).

“We have stepped up further patrols and intelligence efforts,” Arevalo said.

“We have (also) alerted our troops to augment PNP (Philippine National Police) efforts in the now ensuing police manhunt operations,” he added.

Arevalo said the AFP condemns in the strongest terms possible the cowardly attack that targeted innocent civilians.

He said the perpetrators’ means of assaulting hapless victims through terror, death and destruction do not justify their ideals.

With this in mind, Arevalo assured that government security forces will address these vile aggressions with vehement counteractions and with the support of the community, they will get those criminals.

“(Also) with the help of the local residents, we can potentially prevent any repeat (of the incident),” he said.

Arevalo said the local government of Isulan led by Mayor Marites Palasigue and the PNP are leading the efforts to hunt down the perpetrators behind the incident.

He added that the AFP extend its sincerest condolences to the victims of the bombing and assure their families that the AFP is one with them in their quest for justice.

Two persons perished while 14 others were wounded – three of them critically – as a result of the explosion.

Arevalo said the AFP is urging communities to unite in these attacks by terrorists targeting the lives of people, their freedom of movement, and the peace in the towns and cities.

“We urge every individual – every man or woman, young or old— to be vigilant and actively involved in reporting their observation of any suspicious activities or persons in their localities,” Arevalo said.

The Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6th ID) said they are looking at the possibility that the Daesh-inspired group under Esmael Abdulmalik alias Abu Toraife/Toraype, was behind the blast.

In an interview, AFP 6th ID spokesman Capt. Arvin Encinas said Sunday night’s bombing in Isulan town, Sultan Kudarat was perpetrated by the faction under Abdulmalik, an influential cleric and skilled bomb expert, said to be involved in previous bombings in Maguindanao.

He said their main purpose is to sow terror and create fear in the community. The group’s areas of operations are in Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat.

“Itong pagpapasabog eh part ng retaliation nila as they suffered significant losses during our FMO (focus military operations),” Encinas said

With regard to criticism by some that another bombing incident happened in Sultan Kudarat despite the implementation of martial law in Mindanao, Encinas said terrorism is a global issue that even the most advance countries are having a hard time dealing with.

Isulan municipal mayor Marites Kapunan-Pallasigue dismissed as baseless the allegations that those behind the twin deadly blasts that hit her town were state forces.

Pallasigue, in an interview over Catholic-ran DXND, said it would be absurd to believe such thing.

Pallasigue hinted the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) is more likely the group behind the series of bombings in Isulan.

Pallasigue made the statement after BIFF spokesman Abu Misry accused the state forces of allegedly “masterminding” the so-called terror attacks in Mindanao.

“The BIFF has nothing to do with the bombings, instead, it’s the Army and other state forces,” said Misry in an interview over DXND. (With a report from Malu Cadelina Manar)

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