The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Tuesday vehemently denied reports that the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) operatives are in Metro Manila and planning to conduct bombing attacks against SM malls.
"SM has issued a statement denying the alleged bomb threat. On our part, we will continue supporting the law enforcement agencies in the conduct of investigations, we will continue assisting them in monitoring this report and we will also preempt any armed threat against our people," AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala said.
In the same vein, he said that the AFP has not monitored any reports suggesting ASG or even Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) operatives are embedded in Metro Manila for such alleged bombing attacks.
"We have not monitored any (reports suggesting) that the Abu Sayyaf and the BIFF are in Metro Manila. Our reports (state that) are still in
Central Mindanao and Sulu,"
A text message, purportedly coming from a SM security officer, claimed that the ASG was planning to bomb SM North EDSA and Las Pinas should the management of these shopping malls refused to give in to the group's Php15-million extortion demand.
Terror bombers, Baco and Muawiyah, who reportedly allied themselves to local lawless groups, are still in
Mindanao, Kakilala said.
Kakilala said the neutralization of the two was not far off as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, AFP and Philippine National Police were working closely regarding the capture or elimination of the two.
"With the synergy with MILF, AFP and PNP, it (is) not far-fetched," the AFP spokesperson said.
Kakilala declined to comment on whether the MILF should be given credit for the death of terror-bomber Basit Usman and five of his followers Sunday.
But he said that the fact remains that Usman is dead.
"It is adequate for us already, the treat posed by Usman is no longer there."
The AFP earlier claimed that infighting among Usman's group led to the death of the brigand and his five followers in Maguindanao Sunday.