• ‘Mad bomber’ to sow terror in Mindanao

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    GOVERNMENT forces beefed up security forces in Mindanao following reports that a mad bomber would blow up several local offices here this month.

    Ustadz Pendie Colano, chairman of the Selatan State Revolutionary Committee of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), identified the foreign-trained bomber as Abdul Basit Usman, alleged leader of Jemaah Islamiyah. He will reportedly carry out his “mission” together with two Pakistani and two Indonesian nationals.

    Colano said the mad bomber would be joined by members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) headed by former Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Commander Ameril Umbrakato.

    A BIFF insider who requested anonymity said Basit and his four companions have long planned blowing up several government offices since the Ramadan in 2012. They had to postpone their plans because of heavy government security.

    He added that a number of MILF followers under the leadership of MILF Chairman Ibrahim Murad Al Haj would help Basit carry out his plans this month.

    Region 12 Central Mindanao Philippine National Police Chief (PNP) Chief Superintendent Lester Camba, Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, and General Santos City) regional police director, could not be reached for comment. Even General Santos City Police Senior Superintendent Froilan Quidilla refused to comment on the matter.

    Colano said the previous series of bomb explosions in Maguindanao were the handiwork of Basit since no one else would dare plant explosives in nearby military installations.

    “This holy month of Rama–dan is the time Basit and his four companions from Pakistan and Indonesia would strike. This will give the Muslim rebels and communists insurgents the opportunity to sow widespread fear and panic in various parts of Mindanao,” according to a reliable informant.

    Government soldiers carrying machine guns mounted on military trucks have been sent to several areas in Maguindanao and in various military detachments in North Cotabato, Cotabato City, South Cotabato and Soccsksargen in preparation for rebel attacks.

    Marines have also been deployed at private and government power installations like the National Power Corporation, Globe Telecom and Smart Communications as well as other potential targets of Basit’s group.

    Checkpoints have also been established in all possible entry and exit points of the rebels, especially in the provinces of Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, Sarangani and General Santos City.

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