Datu Piang police chief sacked after BIFF attack

John Unson - Philstar.com
Datu Piang police chief sacked after BIFF attack
Officials of the Bangsamoro regional police inspect the patrol vehicle of the Datu Piang municipal police that Dawlah Islamiya gunmen burned on December 3.
John Unson

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines — The police chief of Datu Piang town In Maguindanao was relieved after members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) burned police patrol vehicle and shot buildings with assault rifles last week.

Brig. Gen. Samuel Rodriguez, director of the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, said Monday Capt. Israel Bayona had been replaced by Major Alexander Butuan.

Local residents said Bayona was the target of the gunmen behind the atrocity that sent villagers running for their lives.

Datu Piang, an old town in the second district of Maguindanao, is near central Mindanao’s 220-hectare Liguasan Delta, a Dawlah Islamiya bastion.

No fewer than 50 terrorists raided the town proper of Datu Piang from two directions, fired at houses and set on fire the patrol vehicle of the local police and a roadside outpost near a Catholic church that soldiers use for daytime security duties.

Members of the Datu Piang municipal peace and order council said Monday the relief of Bayona was one step to easing the tension between the local police and Dawlah Islamiya forces in the municipality.

The Dawlah Islamiya is also known as the BIFF that uses the flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria as its banner.

Local leaders and Moro traditional elders told reporters the Dawlah Islamiya gunmen who attacked the town proper of Datu Piang are hostile to the local police owing to the recent arrest of companions for peddling of shabu, illegal possession of firearms and explosives and other criminal offenses.

Rodriguez and Major Gen. Juvymax Uy of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division have agreed to cooperate in building criminal cases against the terrorists behind the Datu Piang attack.

“Our units will help the police identify all of them for prosecution,” Uy said Monday.

The culprits are followers of Ustadz Karialan, leader of one of three factions in the Dawlah Islamiya.

Karialan and the leaders of the two other Dawlah Islamiya factions, Imam Bongos and Abu Toraife, whose real name is Abdulmalik Esmael, are all wanted for deadly terror attacks and bombings in central Mindanao since 2014.

The 6th ID has been since Saturday bombarding with artillery, the followers of Karialan now scampering towards marshes around Datu Piang after perpetrating Thursday’s attack.

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