Moro group hits AFP: Why quickly blame ISIS on Cotabato blast?

Jan. 02, 2019

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — A militant Moro group on Tuesday hit out the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for quickly blaming alleged ISIS militants as the group behind the deadly bomb explosion in Cotabato City last December 31 even a thorough probe has yet to conclude about the incident.

“Lacking thorough investigation, the military is quick to accuse ISIS militants of this would justify their military take-over in Cotabato City and other Moro areas, at a time that residents of Cotabato City and other Moro areas in Mindanao are preparing for the plebiscite that would ratify the Bangsamoro Organic Law,” Jerome Aba of Suara Bangsamoro said.

Aba issued a statement when 6th Infantry Division commander Maj Gen Cirilito Sobejana suspect that a Daesh-related group was behind the blast incident that killed two and wounded a score of civilians.

Aba cautioned the AFP to refrain from issuing such statements, saying “it would affect not only the investigation but would lead to incidents of human rights violations.”

“A shortcut of the investigation is an injustice to the families of the victims and to the people of Cotabato City, as the real perpetrators will still roam free and the bombing incidents continue,” Aba added.

He feared that with AFP resorting to the “ISIS terrorist angle” would subject Moro communities to profiling and tighten security measures similar to what had happened in Marawi City.

“Moro communities will experience another full-scale response like what happened in Marawi City—setting up of checkpoints, arbitrary arrests, and raids, and worse, another round of aerial bombardment and military operations in Moro areas suspected of ISIS presence such as the second district of Maguindanao and North Cotabato,” Aba said.

“We hope that this incident will not be used to divide the Moro people by accusing each other and using their stand for and against the BOL as the motive behind the bombing. What is glossed over in this incident is that this justifies President Duterte’s military solution to the conflict in Mindanao that would lead to military abuses and incidents of human rights violations,” Aba added. (

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