Philippines army: Our men not conniving with terrorists

SULU OFFENSIVE: Government soldiers patrol a highway during a search operation for the body of beheaded Canadian hostage Robert Hall in Indanan town, Sulu, on Tuesday. AFP

MANILA: Amid allegations that some of their men are conspiring with terrorist group Abu Sayyaf, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the police are ensuring that there are no spies and traitors in their ranks.

Jolo mayor Hussin Amin has alleged that some military officers in Sulu are conniving with the Abu Sayyaf, getting a share of the ransom paid to the terrorist group.

“There is also an established system to ensure no spies and traitors are in our ranks.

“There also exist strong measures to deal with those who have found to have violated their oath,” the AFP on Saturday said in statement read by Communications Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. over state-run dzRB radio.

The AFP said the accusations hurled against some of its officials could put a dent on government efforts against the Abu Sayyaf.

“The accusation can undermine government efforts against these criminals and we will hold the ones who released such statements accountable if they can substantiate their allegations,” the AFP said.

Amid these allegations, the AFP said their “commanders on the ground are in full control of our troops and are focused on their primary mission of getting these criminals and saving the hostages.”

“Our Armed Forces and police have been at the forefront at the fight against all kidnap-for-ransom groups and the Abu Sayyaf Group for a long time.

“We have lost so many servicemen in the process. We do not doubt the dedication and commitment of our troops,” it said.

AFP said local officials should instead focus on promoting socio-economic programs that could dissuade citizens from supporting these crime groups.

“Local government officials are at the lead of addressing peace and order in their community with the police and the AFP as partners.

“This cooperation and partnership is the cornerstone in coming up with a permanent solution to this perennial problem of lawlessness in their communities,” it said.

“After all, peace and order is their primary responsibility in their respective provinces,” it added. – Philippines Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network

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