MANILA – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Debold Sinas said additional security personnel have been deployed in Datu Piang town, Maguindanao to prevent a repeat of Thursday’s attack of suspected Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) terrorists.
In a statement late Saturday, Sinas said reinforcements are composed of 70 personnel from the Regional Mobile Force Battalion-14 under Lt. Col. Jeff Uy, and one section of 4th Special Action Battalion, PNP- Special Action Force (SAF) under Lt. Ian Rey Diolanto and Lt. Brett Allen Alde with 17 members.
He said units from 34th Infantry Battalion, and 6th Infantry Battalion of 6th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army were also sent to Datu Piang “to maintain peace and order and established normalcy in the area.”
Sinas said all other nearby municipal police stations in the province were also alerted against similar incidents of armed harassment on civilian communities.
He added that he had already informed Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año that Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) is now closely putting together all facts and evidence “to establish the circumstances surrounding these cases of attempted murder, arson, damage to property, indiscriminate firing, grave threats and intimidation.”
Authorities are looking at political rivalry among local executives of Datu Piang, particularly between the mayor and vice mayor over certain political issues as one of three possible motives behind the attack.
Vengeance for the death of BIFF member Abu Suffian in a police operation in Cotabato City on Dec. 1, and personal grudge of some BIFF members against the chief of police of Datu Piang for the recent arrest of two members on drugs and firearms charges are two other possible reasons.
Sinas said the personal grudge is most likely the motive because the chief of police was sought out by the armed men over the earlier arrest of two BIFF members who are relatives of the vice mayor.
Police earlier identified Salahudin Hasan alias “Salah” and Muhiden Animbang Indong alias “Commander Karialan” as the leaders of 50 men who stormed the poblacion of Datu Piang nighttime on Dec. 3.
Aside from the minor damages, no casualties were reported when some 50 armed men attacked Datu Piang town, according to the police. (PNA)