SouthMin a transit point of terrorists: PNP

DAVAO -- Terrorists are using the Southern Mindanao region as a transit point to various areas in Mindanao, said Sr. Supt. Eric Javier, Police Regional Office (PRO) 11 director.

"It is expected that somehow, someway the region is used as transit points by terrorists considering the wide coastal lines," Javier said during Thursday's AFP-PNP Press Corps forum at the Davao City Police Office compound.

He did not, however, identify the areas in Region 11 that are being used as points of entry by the terrorists.

A military officer, who requested anonymity, said some areas in Madaum in Tagum City and Mawab town in Compostela Valley are suspected to be entry points of lawless elements from neighboring countries like Indonesia and Malaysia.

But the same military source assured there are no training grounds of the Jemaah Islamiyah in Region 11.

He said terrorists are only using the region as a safe haven and "rest and recreation" area.

Earlier, Defense Secretary Eduardo Ermita said there are still more than 40 JIs who are training and operating in Mindanao.

But Lt. Gen. Rodolfo Garcia, military vice chief of staff, said on Wednesday that a captured JI suspect, Indonesian Taufik Rifqi, told interrogators there were about 30 JI members in the country now, down from about 40 in 1999.

"When the rebel camps were dismantled, the foreign terrorists were driven away but they are still there hiding in Central Mindanao," Ermita said.

Ermita's statement came as authorities said Monday they found bomb-making materials in a raid of a JI hideout on October 19 after weeks of surveillance on suspected JI terrorists in Cotabato City.

Around eight local and foreign JI suspects escaped Sunday's raid and left behind residue of what authorities suspected at first to be a chemical carrying the tetanus bacteria. The powder, however, was negative of the deadly bacteria when examined. Sun.Star Davao


Bron : Sun Star

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