Army chief mulls martial law for Sulu following attacks

Philippine Army (PA) commander, Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, is contemplating to recommend that Sulu be placed under Martial Law following the twin bombings that killed 14 people and wounded 72 others in Jolo town on Monday.


He said the situation calls for the measure as the twin explosions caused a lot of casualties among security forces and civilians alike.


“I think it is wise (for the government to) declare (Martial Law) again,” he added in Filipino during an interview with reporters Tuesday.


When asked for the specific purpose of declaring Martial Law again in Sulu, Sobejana said this is to bring “normalcy” and control the movement of the terrorists.


“It has to be controlled, otherwise it (attacks) will be (a) repetitive thing, victimizing locals,” Sobejana said.


When asked how long this will last, the Army chief said it would depend on the situation on the ground.


“The situation dictates (on how long the period) of Martial Law enforcement or implementation,” he said.


Sobejana, meanwhile, clarified that his recommendation for Sulu to be placed under Martial Law still has to pass through the military’s chain-of-command and forwarded to President Rodrigo Duterte and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.


“If I may recommend to the President through the chain-of-command of course, I have to pass my recommendation through (the) Chief-of-Staff and Secretary of National Defense,” he added.


Sobejana said he has yet to make a formal recommendation as he is still in Mindanao and will immediately consult his staff once he arrives in Manila.


In an earlier interview with DWIZ, Sobejana said that the two female suicide bombers responsible for Monday’s attack were probably motivated by Abu Sayyaf leader Mundi Sawadjaan to do their grisly work.


Another motive is that these female bombers could be widows of terrorists who were earlier killed or neutralized by government forces.


Meanwhile, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Archie Gamboa supported Sobejana’s recommendation.


“This will allow the military and police more operational flexibility to carry out law enforcement operations against domestic threat groups in the area,” Gamboa said in a statement.


Gamboa added that the PNP mobilized the Philippine Bomb Data Center (PBDC) and Crime Laboratory for technical support to ongoing investigation of the deadly explosions in Jolo, Sulu.


He said the PBDC analysts will determine any specific bomb signature of the explosives that were detonated based on the reconstruction of forensic evidence gathered by Crime Laboratory and other security forces that responded to the incident.


Any specific bomb signature that will be determined from the technical analysis will be compared with known bomb signatures from previous incidents that are stored in the PBDC database to possibly identify the person or group to whom the bomb signature can be associated with, he added.


Source: Philippines News Agency

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