Maute 'sighting' triggers panic, evacuation in Koronadal

KORONADAL CITY -- City officials urged residents on Wednesday to be more responsible in sharing information after a report on supposed sightings of Islamic State-inspired Maute terrorists in an upland village here triggered panic and evacuation among residents.

Around 100 families from Sitio Acub in Barangay San Isidro and neighboring villages here fled their homes on Monday night due to the reported presence of armed members of the Maute terror group.

City Administrator Cyrus Urbano said the incident was a case of misinformation and "fake news."

"We should be more responsible in sharing information, especially in social media, about incidents that could create panic among residents," Urbano said.

Urbano, who heads the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said the false reports affected residents of Barangays San Isidro, Assumption, Mambucal, Sta. Cruz and Carpenter Hill.

He said the evacuees, who mostly took temporary shelter in barangay plazas, returned to their homes several hours later after getting assurance from authorities of their security.

Supt. Benjiel Kirby Bajo, Koronadal City police chief, said the reported presence of terrorists was based on wrong information.

Bajo said residents mistakenly identified joint Army and police personnel then patrolling portions of Sitio Acub in San Isidro as terrorists.

"It eventually spread as a supposed attack by Maute terrorists," he added. (PNA)

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