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Army concerned that bombings of church, mosque to escalate tension

The Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) hopes that the recent bombings of Catholic churches and Mosques will not end up in a religious conflict.
Speaking in yesterday’s AFP-PNP press briefing held at the Royal Mandaya hotel, Col. Ezra Balagtey, the EastMinCom spokesperson, said, “We hope it will not escalate into a religious war.”
While he said there’s no direct threat in the EastMincom area for now but they are still on heightened alert.
“Again our different units and EastMinCom are closely coordinating with our counterparts, particularly the Western Mindanao command, to have more information,” Balagtey said.
He said that the terrorist groups are also watching the military and the police closely so they have to be careful about their movements. Also, all intelligence information will be consolidated to have a good picture, which will become the basis for the decision.
Meanwhile, Balagtey reiterated the call of Maj. Gen. Felimon Santos Jr., the EastMincom chief, for the public to refrain from spreading fake news regarding information on security.
In a separate interview, Chief Supt. Emmanuel Licup, the director of Police Regional Office IX, said at 12:20 a.m. of Jan. 30, a grenade was thrown at Logoy Diutay, Barangay Talon-Talon, Zamboanga City, which resulted in the death of Sattal M. Bato, 47, and Rex Habil, 46.
Three others, identified as Palson Asgali, Male, 44; Alnizkar Sabbaha, 30; and Jikilani Albani, 60, sustained injuries.
Licup said there were four other patients who are now in Zamboanga City Medical Center. They are
Yasson Asgali, 46; Paulo Slahuddin, 41; Albani Jikilani, 67; and Amidz Kassara, 30.
Last Sunday morning, 18 individuals were killed and 87 others were wounded in the twin bombing allegedly by the Ajang- ajang remnants of the Abu Sayyaf Group at the Jolo Cathedral church.

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