Forces foil an­other ter­ror­ist at­tack in Min­danao

The Gulf Today - - ASIA - BY MANOLO B. JARA

MANILA: Sol­diers and po­lice­men foiled an­other at­tack to sow vi­o­lence by Daesh-linked ter­ror­ists as they conis­cated at least four im­pro­vised ex­plo­sives dur­ing a “sur­prise” raid on a bomb fac­tory in Maguin­danao prov­ince in restive Min­danao, a se­nior mil­i­tary of­fi­cer con­firmed on Sun­day.

Lieu­tenant Colonel Harold Cabunoc, an Army in­fantry bat­tal­ion com­man­der, said the raid was con­ducted at dawn on Satur­day on a safehouse of mem­bers of a “rogue” Moro rebel group called the Bangsamoro Is­lamic Free­dom Fight­ers (BIFF) in a “barangay” (vil­lage) in the town of Pi­glas, Maguin­danao.

The raiders, com­posed of elite mem­bers of the mil­i­tary and the po­lice Spe­cial Ac­tion Force (SAF), seized from the BIFF camp, be­lieved to be a ma­jor fac­tory for pow­er­ful home-made ex­plo­sives, four bombs as well as as­sorted guns and am­mu­ni­tion, ac­cord­ing to Cabunoc.

He added that a few hours after the raid, they also ac­cepted a BIFF leader and four of his men who were sur­ren­dered by their rel­a­tives for fear they would be “elim­i­nated” in the on­go­ing cam­paign against the group that has pledged al­le­giance to the Daesh ex­trem­ists in the Mid­dle East.

But Cabunoc also ad­mit­ted that two other lead­ers, iden­ti­ied as Us­tadz Yasser Sali­gan and Sheik Makak­ene alis Abu Ji­had, man­aged to es­cape by jump­ing into the Liguasan Marsh dur­ing the raid.

Nev­er­the­less, he main­tained that the raid as well as the conis­ca­tion of the pow­er­ful home-made bombs and ma­te­ri­als for the man­u­fac­ture of im­pro­vised ex­plo­sives helped foil an­other ter­ror at­tack be­ing planned by the ter­ror­ists in Cen­tral Min­danao.

“Our in­for­mants showed us the pho­tos of ter­ror­ist bombers Sali­gan and Abu Ji­had as they det­o­nated a bomb that was be­ing tested for its lethal­ity,” Cabunoc said, adding the ex­plo­sives were to be used in an­other BIFF bomb at­tack on civil­ian as well as mil­i­tary and po­lice tar­gets in the prov­inces of Sultan Ku­darat and North Cota­bato.

The mil­i­tary said the BIFF was founded by the late Ameril Um­bra Kato, a vet­eran ield com­man­der of the Moro Is­lamic Lib­er­a­tion Front (MILF) who se­ceded with about 1,000 of his armed fol­low­ers due to ma­jor pol­icy dif­fer­ences with the front lead­ers over the con­duct of their peace ne­go­ti­a­tions with the gov­ern­ment.

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