THE guns used by terrorists in last week’s attacks in Jakarta may have been smuggled into Indonesia from Mindanao, where gun running thrives despite tightened security measures, a spokesman of the Moro National Liberation Front said Monday.
War is a business,” MNLF spokesman Absalom Cerveza said, noting that weapons can easily be smuggled into Indonesia given its vast shoreline, which is difficult to monitor.
Indonesian police said Sunday the guns seized from the Jakarta attackers likely originated from the Philippines, a report the Palace said it was still verifying.
Police, meanwhile, said they were investigating who was behind an attempt to smuggle improvised bombs and bomb-making components into Zamboanga City. The bombs and components were found in an abandoned motor boat Saturday.
While Absalom said the guns used in Jakarta might have been sold by gun runners or unscrupulous soldiers, MNLF commander Samer Samsudin said the weapons came from members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a group that broke away from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Samsudin said some BIFF fighters had even participated in the grenade and gun attack at the Thamrin district, an entertainment and shopping area in Jakarta.
The spokesman for the Armed Forces, Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, said they have not received reports from their counterparts in Indonesia relating to reports that the seized guns came from the Philippines.
“We were surprised about it,” he said.
In Malacañang, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said they were still trying to verify the report in the Wall Street Journal.
The report quoted Indonesian police spokesman Anton Charliyan as saying that nine guns seized in counterterrorism raids around the country since Thursday’s attack were also likely to have come from the Philippines.
Charliyan said information about the origin of the weapons came from some of the 12 people arrested in the raids.
Four attackers and four civilians died during the Thursday attack in Jakarta, the first major terrorist action in Indonesia’s capital since 2009. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attacks, and police said funding for the attacks came from Islamic State in Syria.
Police also said they didn’t know whether there was any connection between the attacks in Jakarta and four arrests made over the weekend in Malaysia. Police detained four people between Jan. 11 and 15 in Kuala Lumpur and neighboring Selangor state on suspicions that they were planning an attack and that they had connections to IS.
As Congress resumed session Monday, the government’s chief peace negotiator with the Muslim rebels, Miriam Coronel Ferrer, made a renewed pitch for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, saying it would help address terrorism.
“The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro and the draft Bangsamoro law are social justice measures, but from the global security perspective, these are also a containment measure against jihadist extremism,” Ferrer said.
“I reiterate our appeal to our legislators...in view of the recent violence in Indonesia,” she said.
Earlier, National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia said the BBL would help curb the spread of extremism in Mindanao.
“In particular, the Bangsamoro government would be able to help moderate Islamic leaders to counter the ideology of radicalism being promoted by the Islamic State and steer the Muslim community away from ISIS influence,” Garcia said. PNA
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