PNP spokesperson on suicide terror attacks: They’re in Western Mindanao only
MANILA, Philippines—Residents of Luzon and Visayas need not worry about terrorist attacks as these appear to occur only in Western Mindanao, the spokesperson of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Monday (Sept. 9).
Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, PNP spokesperson, said this after a suicide bomber set off an explosion at the Army’s 35th Infantry Battalion’s detachment at the village of Kajaitan in Indanan town, Sulu province, a known bastion of homegrown terror group Abu Sayyaf.
“These are events just in parts of Western Mindanao and there’s no cause for alarm for our people here in Luzon and Visayas,” Banac told reporters at the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, speaking in Filipino.
“The threat is contained in that part of Western Mindanao,” he said.
An investigation is also ongoing to unmask the mastermind of the series of terror and suicide attacks, Banac said.
The bomber, supposedly a woman wearing an abaya (traditional Muslim gear for women covering the face) tried to enter the Army detachment.
Soldiers who witnessed the attack said the woman was stopped after guards noticed her stomach was bulging and looked bigger than usual, a sign that something must be hidden inside her clothes.
Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Western Mindanao command chief, said the woman was foreign-looking with long hair but the dismembered hand thrown by the explosion looked like a male’s.
Banac said Philippine law enforcers are just as good as their foreign counterparts in detecting or preventing terrorist attacks even if foreign terror experts have more sophisticated equipment.
“Terrorism is a global problem,” Banac said talking in Filipino. “Even First World countries with advanced and fine technology and with intense monitoring are still hit by terrorist attacks,” he said.
He defended martial law in Mindanao, which was being criticized for being ineffective against criminality and terror and contributing to a climate of fear on the island.
“In Mindanao because of martial law, it’s a big deal that we were able to limit the movement and proliferation of loose firearms and we are able to suppress crimes,” Banac said still speaking in Filipino.
“So without martial law, there’s a possibility that there would be more terrorist attacks,” he said. “But because of martial law, we were able to limit the occurrence of these incidents and the movement of suspected terrorists is limited, too,” he said.
Reports said that the bombing on Sunday was the fourth involving suicide attackers. A total of six bombers have carried out attacks in the four cases, which included the two explosions at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu last January, which left over 20 dead and at least 100 wounded./TSB
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