BARMM chief vows to help pursue Sulu blasts suspects

Published July 2, 2019, 5:43 PM

by Martin Sadongdong & Antonio Colina

By Ali Macabalang and Nonoy Lacson 

COTABATO CITY – Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Interim Chief Minister Ahod “Al-Haj Murad” Ebrahim has vowed to help authorities in going after the suspects behind the recent attacks in Sulu that left eight dead and 22 wounded.

MILF Chairman Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim during the Senate BBL sub-committee consultation hearings at Camp Darapanan in Cotabato City on Thursday. (Jansen Romero / MANILA BULLETIN)
BARMM Interim Chief Minister Ahod “Al-Haj Murad” Ebrahim

In a statement, Ebrahim said he was “ committed to assist our law enforcement agencies in pursuing the perpetrators of this atrocious incident and similar violence over the past few months in the Province of Sulu.”

“I strongly urge the local leaders to be united in the fight against violent armed groups in their respective places,’ said Ebrahim, who chairs the 12,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The MILF is subject to ongoing decommission processes as part of the transition to BARMM this year, but its current truce with the government mandates its combatants to assist in fighting criminalities in their operational areas.

Sulu hosts some enclaves of field MILF leaders, who helped campaign for the ratification of Republic Act 11054 that created the BARMM geopolitical governance.

Ebrahim said he was “personally outraged by the supposed suicide bombing incident in Indanan, Sulu last June 28.”

“It was a senseless act of terror since the attack inflicted multiple casualties and injuries to innocent civilians. We condemn that act as contrary to cherished human values such as the sanctity and protection of lives, properties and peaceful living,” said Ebrahim, who had fought in several armed combats for over four decades.

Meanwhile, Sulu Governor Adusakur Tan called on the people for sobriety amidst the threat posed by some rebel groups, and urged them to help the government in enforcing peace in the province.

This developed as the Police Regional Office in Zamboanga Peninsula (PRO 9) has placed all of its units under full alert status.

PRO 9 Director Brig. Gen. Froilan F. Quidilla said the move was in response to the two suicide bombing incidents at a military camp in Indanan, Sulu.

Quidilla said the full alert status was implemented across the region starting at 7 p.m. last June 29.

According to published reports, eight were killed while 22 others were wounded in the June 28 noon twin bomb attack on a military camp in Indanan town in Sulu on Friday, June 28.

The two bomb carriers were killed in the blasts, along with 3 soldiers and 3 civilians, Western Mindanao Command (WMC) spokesperson Major Arvin Encinas.

Twelve soldiers and 10 civilians were also wounded, he said.

The first improvised explosive device went off at a military checkpoint outside the camp of the 1st Brigade Combat Team (BCT), while the second IED exploded inside the camp as the other bomb carrier ran to enter the camp, initial reports said.

New WMC Chief Maj. Gen. Cirilito Sibejana announced at the Peace and Order Council meeting in Maguindanao on Sunday that one of the slain bombers was identified as a Moroccan.

Attending the provincial POC meeting as outgoing head of the Maguindanao-based Army’s 6th Infantry Division, Gen. Sibejana described the attack as “sad incident” as it happened on the very hour while he just sat as WMC chief. He replaced Lt. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, who went on optional retirement.