Tuesday, July 9, 2019

PNP deploys additional police commandos to ‘wipe out’ ASG bandits in Mindanao

From the Business Mirror (Jul 9, 2019): PNP deploys additional police commandos to ‘wipe out’ ASG bandits in Mindanao

The Philippine National Police (PNP) will be sending additional Special Action Force (SAF) troops in Mindanao in line with President Duterte’s order for security forces to “wipe out” the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), PNP chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde said on Monday.

This developed as the PNP Crime Laboratory in Mindanao is expected to wrap up its report on the twin bombings at the camp of the Army’s 1st Brigade Combat Team in Indanan, Sulu, including the forensic examination of the bodies of the two supposed “suicide bombers.”

“I think the crime bab would be submitting [the report] anytime today there in Mindanao. The Armed Forces of the Philippines would be given a copy. It would be up to them to make the announcement,” Albayalde said.

Earlier, Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana said that while the remains of one of the reported bombers have been claimed by his Filipino family in Jolo, Sulu, cross matching would still have to be done in order to ascertain that the bomber was really a Filipino.

Albayalde said the sending of additional police commandos in Mindanao, including in Sulu and Basilan was planned in order to help Army and Marine forces there who have been running after the ASG and other lawless groups.

He said the augmentation force, which will also back up a battalion of SAF troopers deployed in Sulu and Basilan, will come from the five battalions of SAF that are seen to graduate, possibly in two months after undergoing the commando course.

“They are already on test missions. If they will have early encounters, they will graduate,” he said of the five battalions. Engaging in actual encounters is a mandatory part of graduating from the SAF course.

Albayalde said that aside from personnel, the PNP has been helping the military in its anti-terrorism campaign in Mindanao through joint operations and intelligence support.

“This is the intensified intelligence information gathering together with the counterparts from the AFP, and of course, from our foreign counterparts,” he said.

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