Zamboanga City on alert for arms shipments to Abu Sayyaf

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ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Security forces have stepped up monitoring for war materiel that someone might try to slip to the Abu Sayyaf group in Sulu and Basilan.
This, after police intelligence agents arrested three suspects and seized a cache of rifle grenades, high-powered rifles and ammunition in a village beside the Philippine National Police headquarters in San Juan, Metro Manila.
The weapons and ammunition, which have been traced to the Government Arsenal, were supposed to go to the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu, police said.
Chief Inspector Helen Galvez, spokesperson of the Zamboanga City Police Office, said they are in close coordination with the military and port security to monitor and thwart attempts to sneak war material to the bandit group, which has been the target of intensified military operations.
“We have intensified our monitoring in the port areas even in the finger wharves that are loosely operated,” she said.
Galvez said police are also validating information passed to the presidential hotline on guns and ammunition being smuggled to the Abu Sayyaf through Zamboanga City.
The interception of the arms cache was the result of cooperation between the police and the military.
“We shared intelligence reports. Malaki ang tulong ng pulis sa ating intensified police and military operations,” Maj. Tan said.

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Tan stressed that the military will not tolerate anyone providing support to the Abu Sayyaf.
“With our previous pronouncement, since the suspect is said to be a former politician, nagbigay kami ng statement before na kahit sino pa ‘yan sasagasaan yan ng AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) as long as ganoon ang ginagawa nila,” he said.
He said security forces have been working together to find the source of the Abu Sayyaf’s weapons and ammunition and stop the flow of war materiel to the group.
“We are very concerned [because] the Abu Sayyaf group is not running out of supply of guns and ammunitions despite the series of encounters [and the ] recovery of their armaments,” he said.
Tan also said the military is concerned because the Abu Sayyaf seems to be using weapons from the Government Arsenal.
“Iyan ang pinakamasakit na gawin mo sa kapwa mo sundalo. We are angry and we don’t tolerate it,” Tan said.

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