Displaying items by tag: Terrorism

Duterte might suspend habeas corpus in Visayas if violence spreads

(philstar.com)

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the troopers of the Joint Task Force (JTF) Sulu prior to his visit to the wounded soldiers at Camp Teodulfo Bautista in Jolo, Sulu on May 27, 2017. Joining the President are Presidential Adviser on Military Affairs Arthur Tabaquero, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año, Philippine National Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa, JTF Sulu Commander Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana, among others. PCOO/Released

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said that he would suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the Visayas as a “precautionary measure” if the violence spills into the Central Philippines as fighting between security forces and Islamist fighters continues in Marawi City.

Speaking during the 119th founding anniversary of the Philippine Navy, Duterte said that he hopes the deaths of Abu Sayyaf fighters who went to Bohol island to try to sow terrorist activities there would teach Islamist militants a lesson as he expressed fears about the possibility of the Visayas becoming the next theater of battle between security forces and bandit groups.

In April, 10 Abu Sayyaf fighters went to the tourist island of Bohol allegedly to kidnap vacationers and to sow terrorism. They were met by a strong military response, however, eventually leading to the arrest or death of the Islamist militants.

Duterte said that he would suspend the privilege of habeas corpus in Visayas should the fighting on the Philippines second largest island spill into the region.

The chief executive said he was worried about the Visayas considering that it  is just a short boat ride away from the shores of Mindanao.

The Philippine Navy and Coast Guard are already patrolling the waters between the Visayas and Mindanao.

“That’s why I mentioned in passing that if there is a transfer of venue from Mindanao to the Visayas and to make it easy for the Philippines to challenge the new engagements I will be forced to declare the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, not martial law,” he said.

The writ of habeas corpus means “to produce the body.” It is a court order for individuals or agencies to bring a detained person before the court and to explain a valid reason for that individual’s detention.

The 1987 Constitution requires that the writ’s suspension be done separately from the declaration of martial law. It states that the suspension of habeas corpus applies “only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in, or directly connected with, invasion.”

'Visayas a porous region'

The president also cited the fact that Visayas was a porous region because it is composed of several small and large islands.

“And the only reason why I am worried about the Visayas is it’s just a very short expanse of the sea. And as a matter of fact if you leave by ship or boat via Cagayan, by morning time, you are in the Visayas. It’s a group of islands. It’s very porous, and you cannot control any Filipino for that matter from going anywhere and everywhere. That is the constitutional right of every Filipino in this country,” he said.

The president has previously said that he might declare martial law over the entire country.

“I have a serious problem in Mindanao, and the (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) has taken, their footprints are everywhere. And there are many, many foreigners and Caucasian-looking. Allow me to focus the problem sa Mindanao, and maybe the spillover in the Visayas and in Luzon,” the president said last week. “If I think the ISIS has taken foothold also in Luzon, and terrorism is not really far behind, I might declare martial law throughout the country to protect the people.”

He said that with the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus suspended, it would be easy for security forces to arrest suspected Islamist group fighters.

“But yung habeas corpus lang, so that I can arrest you anytime without a warrant. That is just a precautionary measure. I don’t it will happen. I hope it will not happen. But if it does we must be ready,” Duterte said.

Last week, the president was forced to cut his landmark official visit in Moscow as the battle between security forces and Islamist fighters raged in the Islamic City of Marawi in the Philippines’ troubled south.

According to the military, the firefight broke out when soldiers tried to arrest an Abu Sayyaf subleader, Isnilon Hapilon, and several Maute Group leaders.

The group then occupied pockets of the city from which they have been fighting the military since Tuesday last week.

The clashes have so far killed 89 Islamist fighters, 21 soldiers and policemen and 19 civilians. They have also turned the once bustling city of 200,000 into a virtual ghost town as most of its inhabitants streamed into neighboring cities and towns.

The battle has devolved into street-to-street combat as the military tries to flush out the remaining fighters out of the city.

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Massive blast in the heart of Kabul’s diplomatic quarter kills scores

  • Published in World
  

Video link: 592e7bd4e4b00249e68a5cac_t_1496218611542_master.m3u8

 A massive blast Wednesday tore through the diplomatic quarter of the Afghan capital of Kabul killing at least 80 people, according to officials, underlining the fragility of the country as it buckles under a wave of rebel attacks.

The Interior Ministry said the blast was triggered by huge quantity of explosives hidden in a water tank that went off during the peak of the morning rush hour on a busy road in Wazir Akbar Khan area of the city.

Wahid Majroh, spokesman of the Health Ministry, said at least 350 people were also wounded.

“I felt like it was an earthquake and after that I do not know what happened,” said Mohammed Hassan, 21, who had been attending a bank training program. “All the staff around me, everyone, was injured.” 

Afghanistan has been suffering from a surge of attacks from the Taliban movement since it declared a new spring offensive, including spectacular attacks on the once secure capital.

 

There have also been a string of attacks claimed by the rival Islamic State group.

Even by the standards of war-torn Kabul, however, this blast stood apart for its sheer magnitude, blowing out windows across the city and setting dozens of cars ablaze.

The target was unclear, but the bomb went off near the Germany Embassy and the nearby French and Chinese embassies were reportedly damaged, according to Reuters news agency.

Officials said, however, that most of the casualties were civilians.

“These heinous acts go against the values of humanity as well values of peaceful Afghans,” said a government statement. “These attacks also demonstrate the extreme level of atrocity by terrorists against innocent civilians.”

More than three hours after the blast, ambulances were still rushing to the site and its smoking, wrecked buildings to evacuate the casualties, a sign that the number of dead and wounded could still rise.

Authorities closed all key roads to traffic to deal with the aftermath of the blast and as a precautionary measure in case further explosions were planned.

 

At Wazir Akbar Khan hospital, not far from the blast, hundreds of anxious and angry people crammed outside the main entrance, trying to get inside to see their injured loved ones, while police guarded the facility. Ambulances rushed back and forth carrying the injured, the dead, and sometimes just body parts burnt black by the blast.

Police and medics carried gray body bags covered with blood.

Like past attacks, the anger soon moved to the government for failing to protect residents — even in one of the most guarded enclaves in the city.

“This is an inept government that cannot protect the people and must be dissolved. It is time for an interim government to be formed,” said lawmaker Mirwais Yasin. 

There are already 8,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan supporting the government, but earlier this year, their leader, Gen. John Nicholson, said he needed several thousand more to break the stalemate. 

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8 Maute Group members surrender – AFP

The 8 surrenderers provide 'very, very valuable intelligence' to government forces as they rid Marawi City of terrorists, says AFP spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla.

by Pia Ranada

MANILA, Philippines – Eight members of the Maute terror group have surrendered to government forces, according to the military.

“There were 8 members holed up in Marawi who surrendered to forces,” said Brigadier General Restituto Padilla, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson, during a Palace news briefing on Wednesday, May 31.

Padilla received the information from Brigadier General Custodio Parcon of the Philippine Marines. Parcon said the terrorists surrendered on Sunday, May 28.

The 8 have been able to help military and police in ongoing clashes against the Maute Group, which continues to hold certain areas of the city under its control.

“These individuals have been talked to and debriefed and have provided very, very valuable intelligence,” said Padilla.

This is the first time members of the terror group have surrendered since the clashes began on May 23.

Padilla confirmed reports from ground commanders in Marawi that around 90% of Marawi had been cleared of the Maute Group.

As of Wednesday, May 31, 89 members of the group had been killed, said Padilla.

The AFP called on more terrorists to surrender. 

“Our message is, while you have time, consider deeply to surrender, lay down your arms and let’s just talk. We will treat you humanely,” Padilla said in a chance interview after the press conference.

The military is tapping religious leaders and scholars in backchannel talks to convince Maute Group members to surrender or let go of their hostages, including Father Teresito “Chito” Soganub, the vicar general of the Marawi bishop.

“The Muslim leaders have to help in convincing the Muslims holding him not to kill him because he helps not only Christians, but Muslims also,” said Padilla in a mix of English and Filipino.

“There are many religious leaders in the Muslim side who are interested that Father Chito come out of this alive because they have been working together on many good projects so if he is gone, who will be the connection of the Muslim leaders?” he added.

Soganub appeared in a propaganda video released on Tuesday, where he seemed to support the demands of the Maute local terror group. Bishop Edwin dela Peña said the priest was obviously "under duress" when he appeared in the video.

President Rodrigo Duterte said in Iligan City on May 26 that he had directed lawyer Abdullah Mamao, Presidential Adviser on overseas Filipino workers, to reach out to members of the terror group who are willing to "talk peace" with the government.

Martial law administrator and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has given government forces up to Friday, June 2, to end the Marawi siege. – Rappler.com

 
 
 
 
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