Marines, Army, PNP secure ARMM compound following Zamboanga MNLF seige

September 11, 2013 10:02 am 

By Edwin Fernandez

COTABATO CITY, Sept 10 (PNA) — Army, police and Marines are now securing the 10-hectare Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao as part of measures to prevent entry of renegade Moro National Liberation Front similar to Zamboanga City attacks.

While MNLF members belonging to other factions have expressed they will not sympathize with their comrades in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, ARMM officials said the steps were meant to prevent "sympathy attacks."

Abdulrashid Ladayo, chief security officer of the Office of the Regional Governor, said the presence of Philippine Marines contingent, Army and Police was part of the preventive measures taken by the government while the Zamboanga City siege remained unsolved.

MNLF forces in mainland Mindanao and under the leadership of Chairman Muslimin Sema have publicly declared they still support and respect the 1996 final peace agreement.

Ladayo said the ARMM was, in fact, appeased with the assurance by the group of Sema, the largest and most politically active MNLF faction, that its forces in mainland Mindanao will not participate in the activities in Zamboanga City of Nur Misuari’s followers.

“However, we’re not taking chances because any `third party’ can just do something to either embarrass our local security forces, or put the `Sema group’ in bad light,” Ladayo told reporters.

About 100 government forces have encircled the ARMM compound here which also houses about 50 government regional and provincial offices.

The Marines are backed by three V-300 combat vehicles securing the entry and exit points of the ARMM compound.

Ladayo explained that security preparations are being closely coordinated by the office of ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman with the Cotabato City police and the Army’s 6th Infantry Division.

Col. Dickson Hermoso, speaking for the 6th ID, which has jurisdiction over Maguindanao, where the most of the MNLF members under Sema live and maintained duly-recognized camps called “peace zones,” said spill over of the Zamboanga incident is far but just the same the Army is placed on alert for a worst case scenario. (PNA)

HBC/NYP/EOF

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