Zamboanga City warned on possible terror attacks
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The National Intelligence Board’s special monitoring committee ‘Bravo’ has warned of possible terrorist attacks in several areas of the country during the yuletide season, the city’s police chief bared.
“In a meeting last November 26, 2015, the board came out with threat level for December 2015 – where many parts of the Zamboanga peninsula, the entire Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Palawan and Boracay were (placed) under threat level 3,” Senior Supt. Angelito Casimiro told reporters here Tuesday.
Casimiro said they received reports of “high terrorism” threat in areas classified under the level.
“It is based on this declassified document coming from the National Intelligence Board (NIB),” he said.
The NIB is an advisory body to the chief of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA).
Casimiro said the classification came after “persistent reports” that “suggest(ed) the intention of the ASG and the (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters) to launch bomb attacks and engage in kidnap for ransom activities.”
“These are the two parameters per report of the National Intelligence Board,” he said.
While the BIFF is considered confined in Maguindanao and some parts of Central Mindanao region, the Abu Sayyaf has been known to regularly venture out of its comfort zone. Its kidnapping activities even extend to Sabah in Malaysia. It was also blamed for the Rizal Day bombings in Metro Manila in 2000, in which, 22 were killed and dozens were injured.
Casimiro said the southern portion of Negros Island, the town of Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat; Kidapawan City and areas of Kabacan, Midsayap and Aleosan in North Cotabato, had also been placed under threat level 3.
“While intelligence agencies suggest that there are threats of terroristic activities, the military will not let its guard down. We have been conducting relentless operations to prevent terrorist groups in carrying out these actions and neutralize them,” Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command based here, said.
“All the police, military and enforcement operatives in the city must maintain a heightened level of alert, no matter what the national threat is, to make sure we are always on our toes to prevent any eventuality,” Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar said.
She also said the recent arrival of a team from the Army’s Light Reaction Company was most welcome as it could help intensify security in the city. SFM
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