Lorenzana says seven foreign terrorists are in southern Philippines
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said seven terrorists from Egypt, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore are in southern Philippines.
“According to the Wesmincom (Western Mindanao Command) commander there are seven foreigners, I think the nationalities are Egyptian, Malaysian, Indonesian and Singaporean,” Lorenzana told reporters on Thursday.
“We have the names of a couple but we are not going to give out yet until we get all the names of everybody,” he added.
Lorenzana's revelation came as the military confirmed a news report saying an Indonesian couple were behind the bombing of the Jolo Cathedral in January where at least 20 were killed.
Lorenzana said based on initial report the foreign terrorists are with the group of Abu Sayyaf leader Hatib Hajan “Sawadjaan in Jolo”
“Yes, we will have intensification of operation in Jolo one of these days, we would like to finish once and for all the Abu Sayyaf and the terrorism in Jolo,” he said.
Lorenzana also mentioned a ''possible spillover'' of terrorism to areas outside Mindanao.
“The possible spillover, it is possible because if he is a Filipino and operating alone, or what we call the lone wolf, he can (just) come here and produce bomb using local materials because actually that they are doing. The improvised explosive device can actually (be) sourced locally. (They just use) fertilizer, ammonium nitrate and all those things, and they can make crude bomb but it’s very destructive,” he said.
Lorenzana assured that government forces are very strict in controlling airports and seaports to prevent the ''possible spillover'' of terrorism to other parts of the country.
“Now having said that I think the police in the region, in the National Capital region and Cebu and everybody, they are also alerted to the possibility to the intrusion of this lone wolf or small group of terrorists that will come here and create trouble,” he said.
“Hopefully we can prevent them from coming here, we have very strict control of the ports, airports, and seaports in Mindanao so we are trying to prevent them from coming here,” Lorenzana added. Robina Asido/DMS