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EastMinCom: No terrorists in city after Maute bomber slay

The Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) yesterday said they received no intelligence report of the presence of terrorists in Davao Region following the death of a Maute bomber and the arrest of six others in General Santos last Monday.

Speaking in yesterday’s AFP-PNP press briefing held at Pinnacle hotel, Maj. Ezra Balagtey, spokesperson of EastMinCom, said following the anti-terror operations, they immediately tapped their intelligence network as a preemptive measure.

“In as far as threat is concerned, we don’t have hard information that we receive although the threat is always there,” Balagtey said. “Part of our area of responsibility is General Santos.”

He also said that since the start of the Martial Law in Mindanao, their priority is to prevent the spillover of the terror attack in Marawi City. This is the reason why their strengthened their intelligence information and exchange with Western Mindanao Command.

“In Davao region we haven’t received any information (of the presence) of the terrorist group but we are continually conducting our intelligence exchange also with the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency and Philippine National Police,” he added.

“There are already reports that the recruitment of the terrorist group has already been conducted in some areas,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said they already prepared a security plan, in coordination with the 1003RD Infantry Brigade and Joint Task Force Haribon, for the Kadayawan festival next month.

“We are looking into the security plan that will be conducted by the Joint Task Force Haribon and 10th Infantry division if there will be additional troops to augment the security of Kadayawan,” Balagtey said.

An alleged bomber of the Maute terrorist group was killed in an inter-agency law enforcement operation early Monday morning in Barangay Fatima, General Santos City.

The suspect was identified as Najib Calimba Pundog alias Najib Hussein, a bomb expert of the terrorist group.

Col. Adonis Bajao, Joint Task Force (JTF) GenSan commander, said the inter-agency group, composed of personnel from JTF GenSan, Regional Mobile Force (RMF), and Philippine National Police Office 12, served a warrant of arrest issued by the Regional Trial Court Branch 11 in Malabang, Lanao del Sur for serious detention and kidnapping against the suspect.

However, Najib resisted and shot one of the law enforcers, prompting the arresting team to shoot back.

Recovered from his possession were a Glock pistol and a hand grenade.

Acting on information from the community, a follow-up operation was also executed by the group at about 7 a.m. that day which led to the arrest of fugitive Nafisa Pundog, the wife of Abu Dar, a senior Maute leader who recruited fighters in the Battle of Marawi, at her safe house in Purok Maunlad, Brgy. Apopong, General Santos City.

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