Sobejana calls for vigilance following Datu Paglas incident

Armed Forces of the Philippines chief-of-staff Gen. Cirilito Sobejana (File photo)

MANILA – Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Cirilito Sobejana urged residents and local government officials in Maguindanao to be more vigilant following the botched attack of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Datu Paglas town on Saturday.

“I enjoin the populace of and local leaders in Maguindanao to remain vigilant as we continue our watch until peace is stabilized,” he said in a statement on Sunday.

While the situation has already stabilized, Sobejana said the AFP will not stop until the threat posed by the BIFF terrorists is neutralized.

“Let us continue to engage local government authorities, stakeholders, and civilians to ensure that peace and security in Datu Paglas and its neighboring towns are preserved,” he added.

Military personnel of Joint Task Force (JTF) Central earlier reported that it had successfully prevented armed BIFF extremists led by Mohiden Animbang alias Karialan from launching offensives against civilian residents in Datu Paglas town last May 8.

It added that the 601st Infantry Brigade troops intercepted around 20 BIFF members who have been the subject of intense military operations for the past days.

“The extremist groups were forced to withdraw in the same morning after security forces were able to isolate the area. The national highway was again open for public commuters at around 10:30 a.m. of the same day after the clearing of the area was confirmed by security forces,” JTF Central spokesperson Lt. Col. John Baldomar said.

The security forces safely deactivated four improvised explosive devices (IEDs) found around the market site and beside the national highway. No civilian or military casualties were reported.

Karialan and his group had been involved in the IED explosions in Datu Saudi Ampatuan since last March, killing two civilians and wounding two others. (PNA)

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