Maguindanao town attack: 3 motives eyed

Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - December 6, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Probers are looking at three possible motives for the attack of around 50 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Datu Piang, Maguindanao on Thursday.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Debold Sinas said among them is political rivalry between the town mayor and vice mayor.

Sinas said another angle is that BIFF rebels wanted to get even with the town police chief over the arrest of two bandits for illegal possession of firearms and illegal drugs.

“The possibility of a grudge is most likely because the chief of police was sought out by the armed men over the arrest of two BIFF members who are relatives of the vice mayor,” the PNP chief said.

Sinas said the attack could also be in retaliation for the death of BIFF member Abu Suffian in a police operation in Cotabato City on Dec. 1.

Authorities said the situation in Datu Piang is back to normal.

“The local government unit, the police and military are in control,” Lt. Col. Anhouvic Atilano of the 6th Infantry Division’s Civil-Military Operations Battalion, said.

Around 70 personnel of the PNP’s Regional Mobile Force Battalion 14 were deployed to the town to help the military maintain peace and order.

The PNP said nearby municipal police stations are on alert to prevent a similar incident.

Police are eyeing charges for murder, arson, damage to property, indiscriminate firing, grave threats and intimidation against BIFF leader Salahudin Indong, alias Commander Karialan, leader of one of the three factions of the BIFF and his men for the attack.

The military said the bandits harrased an Army detachment, burned a police vehicle and indiscriminately fired on houses of villagers during the two-hour rampage. – John Unson

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