DND calls for vigilance anew after Sulu bomb attack

MANILA --- The Department of National Defense (DND) on Sunday called on the public for continued vigilance following the bomb attack at the tactical command post of the 1st Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) in Barangay Kajatian, Indanan, Sulu, which killed around eight people, including three soldiers, and wounded 22 others last June 28.

"The DND calls for continued vigilance in light of the recent bombings in Sulu which led to the very unfortunate loss of lives, both civilian and military. We extend our sympathies to the victims of this heinous act, and vow to hunt down those who are responsible," said DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong in a statement forwarded to reporters.

He added that Friday's attack highlights the need of the public and the security sector to work together in order prevent and counter violent extremism in the communities.

"As a nation, we must be adamant in our rejection of foreign extremist ideologies which aim to invalidate our gains towards achieving just and lasting peace in the country, particularly in Mindanao," the DND spokesperson said.

Andolong assured the public that government forces are conducting a deeper investigation on the incident and will not stop until the suspects responsible for this atrocity are arrested or neutralized.

As this developed, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Benjamin Madrigal visited troops of the IBCT to assess the situation aside from conducting an ocular inspection on the blast site.

He was accompanied by newly appointed Western Mindanao Command chief, Major Gen. Cirilito Sobejana.

Madrigal also visited troops wounded in the attack at the Camp Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital in Jolo.

There, he awarded the Wounded Personnel Medal to wounded members of the 1BCT.

"We condemn the latest bombing in Jolo that victimized not only our soldiers but also civilians who were in the vicinity of the blast. Targeting soldiers and civilians whose only intention is to provide security and maintain peace in the communities is a cowardly act and deserves condemnation in the strongest terms possible," Madrigal said.

He added that the three soldiers, who died in the blast, did not die in vain as they were able to detect and prevent the bomber from entering the camp thus saving many lives.

The second bomber was also neutralized by troops before he was able to get inside the billeting area but was able to detonate the bomb which resulted in the wounding of other troops.

"We commiserate with the relatives of our troops and the civilians and we assure the wounded personnel of the utmost care and medical attention," the AFP chief added.

Madrigal said the AFP is awaiting the result of the post-blast investigation being led by the Philippine National Police.

Meanwhile, the Western Mindanao Command will continue the conduct of current operations while making necessary adjustments in camp security protocols. (PNA)

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