Sulu residents complain of 6-hour lockdown in Jolo
ZAMBOANGA CITY, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR, Philippines — Residents from the towns of Patikul, Indanan and Maimbung in Sulu province complained of a six-hour lockdown in Jolo on Sunday that prevented them from getting inside the town and nearly depriving them of food for their evening’s breaking of the fast (iftar) for Ramadan.
Monah Idjirani, a mother of two and a local trader in Patikul, said they were not able to get inside Jolo to buy food for iftar due to the lockdown.
“It was more than six hours, all we got was water. After six hours, it was lifted but it was already past 7 p.m.,” Idjirani said.
Khalil Mawadi, a driver in Indanan, said the lockdown stranded many people. “A detachment in Barangay Tagbak in Indanan prevented us from going inside Jolo,” he said.
Mawadi said the lockdown was imposed from noon to 6 p.m.
But Maj. Gerald Monfort, public affairs officer of the Joint Task Force Sulu, denied the military had imposed a lockdown in Jolo.
“What we did was implement strict security measures … to preempt the monitored Abu Sayyaf plan to bomb key installations in Jolo,” he said.
“Non-Jolo residents who wished to transact official business, [and other] functions such as health services and the procurement of family provisions may enter Jolo provided they were covered with legal documents,” he added.
The military in Sulu appealed for understanding since the security measures would disrupt the activities of residents.
Brig. Gen. Divino Rey Pabayo, commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu, confirmed the recovery of three improvised explosive devices in separate locations in Patikul and Talipao towns, only four days before Sunday’s heightened security alert.—Julie Alipala
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