No ISIS in Sultan Kudarat town, just ‘chismis’

SULTAN KUDARAT, Maguindanao (MindaNews / 05 November) — There are no members of the Islamic State (IS) here, just fisherfolk armed with ‘holen gu’ (PVC pipe gun), the local government, the provincial police and the Philippine Marines said Monday at the Municipal Peace and Order Council meeting.

Addressing barangay officials, security officials from the Army, Police, Marines and Barangay Peace Auxiliary Teams (BPAT), Police Major Julhamn Asdani said the ISIS scare was just “chismis” (rumor) that spread through social media.

After a series of validations, residents of Dalumangcob and the fisherfolk mistaken as ISIS armed men surfaced to clear the air.

A fisherman said they were walking home after fishing and hunting in the riverside and marshland and may have been mistakenly identified as armed men because they brought along their ‘holen gun’ used in hunting birds.

A female resident narrated that she texted her sister about the “armed men” she saw.

“When my sister received my text, she thought it was the ISIS men attacking MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) communities like what happened in the other parts of Maguindanao area” she said.

Mayor Datu Shameem Tucao Mastura said they will not allow the ISIS to operate in their communities.

“We are much aware of any movement of those who come in and out of our communities. We will be the first line of defense if they attempt to invade our territories, and they won’t prosper. We will counter them by all means,” he said.

He also advised his constituents not to welcome or embrace any ISIS-inspired ideology and to report to his office or security forces anything of that sort if monitored.

The MILF, whose main camp, Darapanan, is in Sultan Kudarat town, will not allow the IS-influenced groups to influence or launch attacks in the town, said Commander Gordon Sayfullah, who attended the meeting.

On the night of November 3, Cotabato City Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi issued a statement through her social media account alerting Cotabatenos of the said ISIS sighting in Cotabato City, allegedly coming from Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

She vowed to fight them with the full force of security sectors and asked the help of the residents to be vigilant or report any information about their presence.

Security was tightened in the city. On Monday morning, two armed were arrested by Cotabato City police along Jose Lim Street — Ebrahim Guialon  and Giahud Mama, allegedly members of the MILF. Confiscated from them were a caliber.45 pistol and 9mm pistol.

Police Major Glenn Mar Avisa, chief of Station precinct 1 of the city police, said civilians reported to them that two suspicious persons were staying long and seemed waiting for someone in the area.

“We acted immediately, and found out they are armed. What really made it more suspicious is that one of the suspects was wearing a face mask,” said Avisa. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera / MindaNews)