• BIFF bomb expert killed in Maguindanao

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    ZAMBOANGA CITY: Security forces killed a suspected bomb maker of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter (BIFF) during a raid in his hideout at dawn on Monday in the restive Maguindanao province.

    Officials said Murad Ali, was slain in Datu Odin Sinsuat town after police commandos and Philippine Army soldiers stormed his hiding place in Barangay Capiton.

    It was not immediately known how security forces tracked down Ali, a follower of slain BIFF leader Abdul Basit Usman who was killed by members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in May 2015. Military officials also did not say if the MILF provided intelligence on Ali.

    The troops seized automatic weapons and grenades, and components for improvised explosives from Ali’s hideout.

    The killing of Ali also coincided with the foiled bombing at a public market in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat after three men on a motorcycle left a bag containing an improvised explosive.

    Meanwhile, the Army is pushing for the conduct of the first Social Media Summit in conflict-stricken areas in Mindanao to promote the use of websites and mobile apps as a communication tool to advance community development.

    Capt. Jo-ar Herrera, spokesman of the 1st Infantry Tabak Division, said they started inviting participants from local government units, peace advocates and other sectors in Lanao del Sur and nearby provinces for the proposed event.

    “This will provide an initial avenue to start advocating for the responsible use of social media,” Herrera told The Manila Times.

    This would be timely after the recent skirmishes in the towns of Butig, Poona-Bayabao and Piagapo, she added.

    It was also proposed that a team of social media experts be formed to take part in the government’s mitigation plan to prevent the spread of extreme ideologies online.

    The National Telecommunications Commission, which is part of the recently formed Inter-Agency Task Force in Lanao del Sur, can be a great player in the promotion of national security and cybercrime prevention, Herrera said.

     MOH SAADUDDIN

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