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Sulu evacuees refuse to return home

(The Philippine Star) - May 3, 2008 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Families displaced by Wednesday’s fighting between troops and the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu have refused to return to their homes in Indanan town for fear of getting caught in the crossfire.

In a report, the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) said 335 families evacuated to temporary shelters have decided to stay put.

“As the military has already ceased all operations against ASG bandits, the Task Force Comet also yesterday persuaded the displaced persons seeking refuge in Barangay Bato-Bato to go back to their respective homes,” the NDCC report said.

The NDCC has distributed rice and other basic goods to the evacuees.

In Zamboanga City, Army chief Lt. Gen. Alexander Yano assured yesterday that troops are ready for any possible retaliatory attacks of the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) following the successful military offensive in Sulu Wednesday.

Speaking at the 72nd anniversary of the 1st Army “Tabak” Division in Pulacan, Zamboanga del Sur on Friday, the incoming Armed Forces chief said the military is expecting possible retaliatory attacks after the terrorist losses during the “surgical strike” launched by the Task Force Comet on their jungle base in Indanan.

Troops in the key areas in the country have been alerted to avert any plot of the Abu Sayyaf and its foreign-based cohorts, he added.

Yano said the military has captured terrorists sent to Palawan last year to wreak havoc on the country’s last frontier.

Intelligence agents would be deployed to monitor any possible attempt to retaliate by the Abu Sayyaf, he added.

Brig. Gen. Juancho Sabban, anti-terror Task Force Comet chief, said bombs used in the recent attack at the Metropolitan Immaculate Conception Cathedral, and local offices of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Maybank are believed to have come from the bomb making facility of the Abu Sayyaf and JI at sitio Kandilamon, Indanan.       James Mananghaya, Roel Pareño

ABU SAYYAF ABU SAYYAF AND JEMAAH ISLAMIYAH ALEXANDER YANO ARMED FORCES BARANGAY BATO-BATO DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND MAYBANK INDANAN TASK FORCE COMET
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