Blasts in Mindanao, Linked to Moro Peace Deal

After 2 consecutive occurrences of bomb explosions within the week, 1 in Zamboanga City and 1 in Cagayan de Oro City, police authorities in both areas by some means see a connection between it and the peace agreement bound to be signed by the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), though they have yet to find a strong evidence to link the two.

Northern Mindanao Regional Police Director Superintendent Gil Hitosis said that while the Philippine government has ongoing peace agreement with MILF, the other group is reported to feel dissatisfied and disgruntled. “We are checking the possible link of the explosions in Zamboanga and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), as we all know the Philippine government has an ongoing peace deal with a group while the other group feels disgruntled. But let me clarify that as of now we have no strong evidence linking the explosion to the peace deal,” Hitosis said.

Hitosis further said that despite absence of a strong evidence for now, the possibility of connection of the bombing incidents to the said peace treaty could not be ruled out, basing on an intelligence information that a particular group is not quite happy with the current peace agreement.

According to Hitosis, the police have been receiving reports of the plans of MILF commander Ameril Umbra Kato and his group in attacking 3 to 4 more towns in Lanao del Norte through bombing in Iligan City.

As a response, Hitosis expressed that he already prepared the police units in the field and instructed them to go on full alert for probable bombing occurrences. “First I hoisted full alert status, second I ordered the conduct of checkpoints to prevent proliferation of firearms and IEDs and allied bombs, third is we are conducting follow up operation against certain personalities, fourth is increased police visibility and fifth, I ordered my men to scour Cagayan de Oro for any more bombs,” Hitosis said.

The military proposed their utmost cooperation to the full alert operations on bombings as well. Spokesman for the Army’s 4th Infantry Division based in Cagayan de Oro City Lt. Col. Eugenio Julio Osias IV expressed that their police units have already been deployed with bomb-sniffing dogs to help out with searching for bombs all over the vicinity, and to assist in post-explosion investigation as well.

The bomb explosion in Zamboanga Sibugay occurred on Wednesday injuring a 14-year-old Alraffy Barabadan, while the explosive attack of an improvised explosive device (IED) happened in Cagayan de Oro City, leaving 2 people dead.

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