‘Retreating Maute group to carry out bombings’

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A COMMUNITY intelligence report revealed that a spate of bombings will be carried out by retreating members of the Maute group and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) command led by Kumander Mohammad Jaafar Maguid, alias Tokboy, a known supporter and organizer of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

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Maguid, who is now with the Maute group, was seen by residents withdrawing directly to the town of Kalamansig and Palembang, the strategic boundaries connecting Lanao del Sur and Isulan, Sultan Kudarat.

Maguid was trained by the fallen Jemaah Islamiya terror cell leader Abdul Basit Usman. He was reported to have joined the Maute group and has become its leader.

The report said Maguid and his ISIS recruits will carry out their bombing missions in North Cotabato, Cotabato City, Sultan Kudarat, Midsayap, Kidapawan, Carmen, Pegkawayan and Maguindanao, Marawi, Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte including Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, Sarangani and General Santos City.

Senior Supt. Raul Supiter, Sultan Kudarat police provincial director, said it is possible the retreating group of
Maguid will pass the strategic towns of Kalamansig and Palembang in Sultan Kudarat.

Supiter added that the recent explosion of an improvised explosive device (IED) that injured several civilians and killed three others in Esperanza town was the handiwork of Kumander Manuel of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).|

An officer of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces (ISAFP) who requested anonymity also revealed that there will is possibility that the group of Maguid already in the towns of Kalamansig and Palembang was actually made up of the two withdrawing groups and they were only creating a diversion to mislead pursuing government troops.

He said vital government facilities, private corporations and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines’ towers have long been targeted for bombing by the group.

Reports reaching The Manila Times said residents in the towns of Palembang and Maitum in Sarangani province saw two groups of heavily armed men wearing black uniform in remote coastal areas.

According to reliable sources, the towns of Maitum, Kiamba and Maasim are possible targets, as well as the communication lines of two mobile networks and vital government facilities.

Maasim Mayor Anecito Lopez Jr. expressed fear that the military operation in Lanao del Sur will escalate considering that Maguid is a resident of Kiamba town and the boundary of Lanao del Sur is near the boundary of Sultan Kudarat province.

Chief Supt. Cedric Train, Police Regional Office 12 director, could not be reached for comment at press time but during a recent interview about Maguid’s group he said the fugitives have no capability to attack the area.

Meanwhile, General Santos City police chief Maximo Layugan said they are ready for any eventuality whether the alleged bombings will be carried out or these are just threats.

Region 12 has been placed under triple alert status with checkpoints installed in strategic areas and troops deployed there.

The intelligence reports also confirmed by a certain Kaharuddin Akmad known as Yusop from Lanao del Sur and who is also Maguid’s former Muslim recruit revealed there is a possibility that war in Lanao del Sur will escalate in the towns of Sarangani because there are areas strategically connected to the boundaries of Sultan Kudarat.

Thousands of families have fled their homes for fear of being caught in the crossfire between the military and the Maute rebels and have evacuated to the towns of Carmen and Pikit, as well as Cotabato City.

Akmad or Yusop, who has evacuated his family to a safer place, said that, according to their Iman, Maguid has been planning a spate of bombings since 2015.

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