Philippine social media is being flooded with warnings of June 30 terrorist attacks
Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN and dpa Thursday, June 22, 2017, 7:58 am TWN
While still validating reports regarding terror attacks alleged planned for June 30 in key areas in the Philippines, Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas, has called on the public to be on guard and not to take any threat lightly.
"All those reports (simultaneous terror attacks on June 30) are subject for validation," he said in a text message to Cebu Daily News on Tuesday evening.
Taliño ordered all police stations in the region to secure their facilities so as to avoid any takeover, and to intensify their intelligence gathering.
He also advised the public to immediately report any suspicious-looking people and unusual activities to the police.
Since early Tuesday, social media sites have been flooded with reports supposedly coming from the police, military and aviation security forces which claimed that a joint team from the IS, Maute terror group, and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters will launch major attacks in key cities in the country on June 30.
The reports were supposed to be "confidential" but circulated in social networking sites mainly through private messages.
It said petroleum trucks would be hijacked and used as "vehicle bombs."
The terror attacks are reportedly aimed at churches, shopping malls, and other areas of convergence. Foreign terrorists, according to the report, will carry out the suicide attacks which will not spare the mosques.
Meanwhile Wednesday, hundreds of suspected Muslim rebels who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist organization stormed a southern Philippine town, attacking security outposts and ransacking schools, officials said.
The armed rebels, numbering around 200, attacked security outposts in the villages of Malagakit, Simsiman and Banucagon in Pigcawayan town in North Cotabato province, 896 kilometers south of Manila, said local police spokesman Superintendent Romeo Galgo.
They also ransacked elementary schools in Malagakit and Simsiman, said the town's police chie Reylan Mamon.
A firefight was ongoing between government troops and the militants, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or injuries, he added.
"We assume that these gunmen want to sow fear, to inform the public that they are present in the area," Mamon told a Manila radio station. "We are checking reports that an undertermined number of people are trapped in the schools."
Villagers reported that gunmen took at least five students as hostages, but authorities were trying to confirm the report, said army spokesman Captain Arvin John Encinas.
The gunmen were believed to be members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a breakaway faction of a larger Muslim separatist rebel group that signed a peace agreement with the Philippine government in 2014.
The group, which has allied itself with the Islamic State, has been blamed for bombings and kidnappings in the central part of the southern region of Mindanao.
The group is separate from the Islamic State-allied militants who have been fighting government forces for almost a month in Marawi City, 800 kilometres south of Manila, where more than 370 people have died.
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