Tuesday Mar, 28 2023 03:37:00 AM

BIFF’s widespread `vehicle theft plot’ uncovered

Mindanao Armed Conflict • 20:15 PM Mon Jan 23, 2023
John M. Unson
Probers sift through the scene of the shootout in Barangay Sagasa in Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat. (From Police Regional Office-12)

COTABATO CITY - Authorities are guarding against possible rise in cases of vehicle theft after policemen gunned down a local terrorist who stole a motorcycle in Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat.

The slain suspect, Zapale Omar, was a member of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, according to police and Army intelligence units.

Personnel of the Esperanza Municipal Police Station, led by Major Samuel Domingo, tried to flag him down in Barangay Sagasa after he stole a motorcycle in the area but neutralized him instead when he pulled a gun and opened fire. 

Omar got killed only about a week after religious leaders and traditional Moro elders in central Mindanao had told media outfits in the region about a plot by the BIFF to mobilize members to engage in cattle and vehicle theft to raise funds.

Major Gen. Roy Galido, newly-installed chief of the Western Mindanao who had served as commander of the 6th Infantry Division before he got to the helm of WestMinCom, said Monday their units in central Mindanao had long been alerted about such a plan by the BIFF.

The sources, among them members of different municipal peace and order councils, had said the BIFF’s extortion activities were curtailed by the surrender, in the past 12 months, of more than 50 members collecting “protection money” from traders and owners of public conveyances via the intercession of police units and the 6th ID.

More than ten BIFF members implicated in the bombing of establishments and buses whose owners had refused to shell out money on a monthly basis were killed one after another in joint police-Army operations during the period.




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