By Ali G. Macabalang
It’s false alarm!
This was the description of various sectors in Lanao del Sur of a police information about sighting of armed men from the Dawla Islmiya, Maute group and Abu Sayyaf purportedly massing up again to sow terror in the province.
Even the provincial police office led by Col. Rex O. Derilo, LDS police director, promptly issued a statement tagging the info as “unverified” and requiring validation from the military and other authorities.
Col. Derilo’s statement, apparently meant to cushion undue public panic caused by the info, is posted herewith.
The Intelligence Unit of the LDS police office under Lt. Col. Juanito Jamis issued on Nov. 6 a memo to police units across the province, mandating them to be on “full alert” to thwart any threat from what is cited regrouped elements of Dawla Islamiya – Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups composed of “Maranaos and Tausogs” in the villages of Madamba, Marantao and Piagapo.
Lt. Col. Jamis’ memo leaked and went viral in the social media like wild fire. Jamis premised his memo on a tip from a “reliable” source. A copy of it is also posted herewith.
Sultan Usman Sarangani, a former three-term mayor and now sitting vice mayor of Madamba, was interviewed via Messenger chat by the Philippine Muslim Today e-newspaper on Friday night.
Sarangani, the reigning Sultan sa Uya-an, confirmed that Army soldiers were deployed at Liyangan, a barangay in Madamba, amid the spread of the info.
He quickly added that the soldiers’ deployment was “cordial” because they were “properly trained” in dealing with terror threats.
He categorically pointed out that no resident in his town had ever seen any terror-bound armed men described in the police memo.
But Sarangani said that since the info officially came from the police, his constituents, in particular, and the public, in general, should be on guard not to take any chance for a repeat of the attack in Marawi City of the same combined remnant guerillas of Mauta and Abu Sayyaf groups.
Sources privy to the geo-political and social landscapes of areas mentioned in the police memo confirmed that some members of the Moro National Liberation had converged at Camp Jabal Nur, a state-recognized MNLF enclave at barangay Cabasaran on the border of Madamba and Ganassi.
A native resident, Parkai Almar, said social convergence is routine at Camp Jabbal Nur because the enclave has now become a civilian populated village.
The residents are either members or indirectly associated with the MNLF faction of Alex Lagawa, a respected field leader of Nur Misuari.
Misuari now performs official duties from President Duterte.
Supporters affirmed MNLF Commander Lagawa has been “ardently opposed” to ideological extremism or terrorism. (AGM)