BIFF spoilers to the peace process, says AFP's CS Sobejana
AFP calls for vigilance after Datu Paglas incident
MANILA – General Cirilito Sobejana, AFP Chief of Staff, called on Maguindanao residents and local government officials to remain vigilant in spite of the aborted hostilities of the peace process, Bangsamoro Independence Freedom Fighters (BIFF) yesterday.
In a statement, General Sobejana said he is calling on the general public to remain vigilant as they continue their watch until peace returns to Mindanao.
It will be recalled General Sobejana spent most of professional life in Mindanao, particularly Central Mindanao.
Military elements from the Joint Task Force Central reported they prevented armed BIFF extremists under Mohiden Animbang aka Karialan from launching offensives against non-combatants in Datu Paglas early Saturday morning. Soldiers from the 601st Infantry Brigade intercepted the group, about 20 of them (not 100 to 200 as erroneously reported). The group has been the subject of intensified military operations during the past days.
According to Lt. Col. John Baldormar, 6th ID Spokesperson, the group was forced to withdraw after security forces isolated the area. The national highway reopened at 10:30 A.M., Saturday after security operations.
The soldiers discovered four improvised explosive devices said to have been left behind by the BIFF. There were no civilian or military casualties.
The military said Karialan and his group were reported behind the improvised explosives device explosions in Datu Saudi Ampatuan last March which resulted to the death of two non-combatants and wounding of two others.
“The situation has already normalized but we will not rest until the threat is neutralized,” General Sobejana said. He called for deeper engagements with local government authorities, stakeholders, and civilians to ensure that peace and security in Datu Paglas and neighboring areas are preserved. (Melo M. Acuña)
AFP Chief of Staff General Cirilito E. Sobejana. (Screen grab from AFP Press Conference)