Forces foil another terrorist attack in Mindanao
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.