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Gamboa fields more SAF troops to Sulu

PHILIPPINE National Police chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa yesterday ordered the deployment of more commandos from the elite PNP Special Action Force to Sulu to beef-up the local police on a mission to get the ‘brains’ behind the deadly Jolo bombing last Monday.

In a directive to PNP-SAF commander, Major Gen. Amando Clifton B. Empiso, the top cop ordered the latter and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region Police Regional Office director, Brigadier Gen. Manuel M. Abu to send in fresh troops to Sulu to help keep peace and order and prevent a repetition of the twin bombings that killed 15 and injured more than 70 others.

Gen. Gamboa also rejected calls to relieve the chief of the Jolo Municipal Police Station in the aftermath of the incident. “Unless there is sufficient evidence establishing criminal involvement or administrative lapses leading to the attack, the PNP maintains full confidence in our ground personnel,” he said.

Journal Group sources said that prior to the attack, PNP intelligence agents had informed the local Armed Forces of the possibility of an impending terror attack in Jolo which was said to have been largely ignored by the military leading to Monday’s carnage.

Gen. Gamboa has ordered a thorough investigation into the blasts as he instructed Philippine Bomb Data Center and the PNP Crime Laboratory to provide technical support to the ongoing investigation of the attacks.

He said that PBDC analysts will seek to 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.

Abu said they are looking into the ‘very big possibility’ that two suicide bombers carried out the twin attacks in Jolo, Sulu which triggered calls by security forces to place the island under martial law.

He added that they are still waiting for the result of the DNA test conducted on body parts lifted from the crime scene to identify possible suspects.

Abu also said that they are waiting for scientific evidence and reliable witnesses before concluding that the suspects could be the suspected female Indonesian terrorists being hunted by soldiers in the area before a shooting incident left four troopers dead after being shot by a group of policemen who are now being held in Camp Crame.