KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/29 May) — The chief of police of Cotabato City wants the joint ceasefire committee of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to investigate how the slain suspected Afghan-trained bomber managed to set up a hideout in an area near the MILF’ main headquarters in Crossing Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.
“The presence of Edris Sabal, who was killed in a running gunbattle on Thursday morning at crossing Simuay in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, was noticed just few weeks ago, reports said.
Dangane said Sabal’s hideout within the ceasefire coverage.
Under the General Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities signed by both parties in 1997, the government and the MILF are bound by preliminary security agreements to mutually cooperate in the interdiction of criminals in areas covered by the ceasefire. This was followed through in the May 6, 2002 Joint Communique.
Meanwhile, in Camp Siongco, Awang in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, soldiers there lowered the Philippine flag to half mast to show they are mourning the death of Sgt. Romy Apostol, an operative of the 6th ID’s anti-crime Task Force Tugis.
Apostol was hit during the firefight.
A police operative identified as PO1 Manuelito Lesmoras was wounded when Sabal’s group opened fire towards the targets.
The operatives were ordered to arrest Sabal based on the warrant issued by a Regional Trial Court based in Cotabato City for a series of murder and frustrated murder charges due to his alleged involvement in several bombing incidents in Southwestern Mindanao.
Dangane, however, did not name the alleged target areas.
He said the arresting operatives “first encircled the target place but Sabal and his men were able to detect the presence of the government troops. Sabal first fired the shots to elude arrest while his men scampered for safety.
Sabal’s wife was also wounded during the firefight. (Malu Cadelina-Manar/MindaNews)