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AFP is ready for ‘another’ urban warfare vs terrorists—Brawner

By: - Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
/ 04:56 PM February 23, 2018

A jubilant battalion rejoice during a send-off ceremony INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / Richel V. Umel

The military is ready for another “Marawi siege,” following the warning of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chair Murad Ibrahim that jihadists loyal to the Islamic State group (ISIS) could seize another city in the Philippines.

“Of course, from our experience from the Marawi siege, we are preparing for another urban warfare. In the eventuality that something similar to Marawi City happens, we should be ready,” said Joint Task Force Ranao Deputy Commander Col. Romeo Brawner during the Bangon Marawi briefing in Malacañang on Friday.

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“We are now reorganizing our units, we are reequipping and retraining. So from the side of the Armed Forces, handa po kami [we are ready] for another Marawi siege whether it happens in Marawi or elsewhere,” he added.

Brawner said the government is “banking” on the MILF and the public to help the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in its advocacy to counter violent extremism and radicalism.

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The military official said Marawi City, which had been under siege for almost five months in 2017, including Lano del Sur “is relatively safe and secured” despite recent clashes between state troops and Maute fighters.

Brawner said the ISIS-inspired Maute Group has been “trying to recruit more members” but he said their forces were not yet enough to launch another attack.

“Well, sa ngayon hindi pa nila kayang gumawa—ang assessment po namin ano on the ground is that hindi pa nila kayang gumawa ng isang pag-atake katulad ng ginawa nila sa Marawi City,” he said.

(For now they are incapable—our assessment on the ground is that they still can’t launch another attack similar to what happened to Marawi City.)

The implementation of martial law in Mindanao, he said, has been “very effective” especially in the areas of Marawi City and Lanao Del Sur including Lanao del Norte.

“For one, wala na tayong nakikitang mga nagdadala ng firearms openly. And since the implementation of martial law, halos wala na pong cases of murder, homicide or other killings within Marawi City and Lanao del Sur,” he said.

(We are no longer seeing anybody else bringing their firearms openly. Since the implementation of martial law, there is almost no case of murder, homicide or other killings within Marawi City and Lanao del Sur.)

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“Iyong mga [those] crimes related to the loss of lives from firearms o illegal firearms ay nawala na ito [are almost nothing] because of our control… our gun control that we are implementing and we are able to implement this because of martial law.

He said the implementation of martial law enabled the government to monitor the entry of individuals especially in Marawi City.

“Iyong pong control natin on [our control of] entry of individuals into the barangays in Marawi City, we are able to control or monitor at least iyong mga tao na pumapasok [those people who are entering]. So that this way, we will prevent the entry of people who are not really from Marawi City or people who are suspected to be members of the terrorist groups,” he said. /jpv

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TAGS: AFP, Bangon Marawi, Ibrahim, Marawi, MILF, Military
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