Wednesday, August 20. 2008
By Bhong Simbajon
After the surprise and simultaneous attacks in Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, North Cotabato and Saragani, rebels of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) would target other cities in Mindanao including Zamboanga City which strongly oppose the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD), documents recovered by government troops after clearing operations in Kolambugan and other Lanao towns last Monday revealed.
Policemen and Army soldiers under the Joint Task Force Tabak of the AFP recovered the documents which includeed a Mindanao map with red dots, diagrams and sketches which clearly indicate the cities that the MILF plans to attack.
The documents, together with improvised explosive devices and meal rations, were seized from one of the slain MILF rebels who is the henchder the 1023nd BIAF-MILF Base Command.
Reports gathered by DZT disclosed than an AFP intelligence operative who got hold of the documents immediately turned them over to his superior officer for further evaluation.
But the officer who requested anonymity revealed that the "red dots" are identified targets that could be the next areas being planned for attacks by the MILF in Mindanao.
The "plotted" target areas based on the recovered MILF in Mindanao.
The "plotted" target areas based on the recovered MILF documents were Marawi, Iligan, Sultan Kudarat, Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Saragani, Zamboanga City, Pagadian City, Ipil in Sibugay Province, Lamitan City and the "Triple SB" (Sibuco, Sirawai, Siocon and Baliguian) in Zamboanga del Norte.
The military officer said that based on their analysis of the map, the diagrams written by red pen are plotted with maneuver positions and positions and positions and positions of troops, vehicles and boats for attacks, ambuscades and occupancy of vital government installatons.
He said the documents simply mean they (MILF) truly have intentions of mounting widespread attacks in Mindanao using guerilla deployment and tactical maneuvers to victimize whoever would block their way.
As this developed, troops under Task Force Zamboanga led by Col. Santiago Baluyot and Western Mindanao Command under Lt. Gen. Nelson Allaga were placed on double deployment, including visibility patrols in the coastal towns which are vulnerable to attacks.
Police forces from the 9th Regional Mobile Group and Special Action Forces (SAF) augmented the stand-by force of the Police Regional Office 9 in monitoring the security situation in the region.
Earlier, AFP Chief of Staff General Alexander Yano revealed that the atrocities carried out by the MILF rebels were a "virtual declaration of war".
He said the separatist rebels' rampage, starting with the ambush of government troops in Lanao del Sur, was a "virtual, declaration of war against the duly constituted authority, which was confirmed by Commander Bravo's declaration of jihad or Holy War."
Yano said there are enough troops in Mindanao to deal with the MILF and the more soldiers are prepared for deployment to affected areas.
The AFP chief also said that units in other areas have been ordered to take an "active defense stance" to prevent the fighting from escalating to other nearby towns and provinces.
Brig. Gen. Hilario Atendido, chief of the ant-terrorist Task Force Tabak, said their forces here in Western Mindanao are in control of the situation and are conducting defensive positions along possible target areas of MILF rebels.
The MILF leadership said their commanders involved in the attacks have vented their ire over the derailed signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on ancestral domain in Malaysia last Aug. 5 and the issuance of Temporary Restraining Order by the Supreme Court which temporarily put to halt the peace negotiations.
Some 500 fully armed guerillas of MILF's 102nd Base Command led by Commander Bravo killed at least 28 civilians and three soldiers in the daylong harrassment in predominantly Christian coastal communities in Lanao del Norte.
Bravo's group burned houses, vehicles, took over lands, hacked and shot civilian. -- Bhong Simbajon.