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Joint forces neutralize Dos Palmas kidnapping suspect in Zamboanga Sibugay

ILIGAN CITY — A joint enforcement operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Zamboanga Sibugay Provincial Police Office neutralized a suspect of the 2001 Dos Palmas kidnapping incident early morning on Sunday in Sitio Tubigsina, Barangay La Paz, in Alicia town, Zamboanga Sibugay.

The joint forces raided the suspected hideout of Furuji Indama, a Basilan-based leader of Dawlah Islamiya-Abu Sayyaf Group (DI-ASG), who had a standing warrant of arrest for his involvment in the kidnapping incident.

A series of encounters ensued between the government forces and the terrorist group which resulted to two soldiers wounded-in-action and scores of casualties on the ASG side.

Lt. Col. Don Templonuevo, Commanding Officer of 44IB disclosed that his unit received reports from civilians in the area that suspicious persons were frequently staying in said area which prompted him to launch a joint law enforcement operations together with the Philippine National Police.

"We immediately launched the operation to prevent these terrorists to undertake their evil motives in the community," Templonuevo said.

In a statement, Brig. Gen. Leonel Nicolas, Commander, 102Bde, who has operational jurisdiction of Zamboanga Sibugay emphasized that terrorism has no place in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

"Through the continued intensified coordination, collaboration and cooperation with our PNP counterparts, the army will ensure that terrorism will have no place here in Zamboanga Peninsula," Brig. Gen. Nicolas added.

During the clearing operation, the cadaver of a certain Idris Aquilon, a close associate of Furuji Indama and the wanted Sahibad Group, was discovered together with various ammunition and explosives.

Three civilians were also wounded during the clash and were immediately evacuated to the nearest hospital for medical treatment. The Provincial and Municipal LGUs are taking care and helping the families of the civilian casualties during their treatment.

Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Gene Ponio, Commander, 1st Infantry Division encouraged the public to stay calm and remain vigilant.

"The public has nothing to fear because our troops on the ground are on top of the situation," Ponio said.

"However, we enjoin everyone to remain vigilant in their surroundings and report to proper authorities suspicious individuals that may take advantage of the COVID-19 crisis situation to sow fear and terror among the peace-loving people of Zamboanga Peninsula," he added.

As of this posting, continued pursuit operations are being conducted on land and sea by law enforcers against fleeing terrorists.

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