PNP probes Datu Piang police chief as target in attack

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MANILA-— The Philippine National Police (PNP) said it is now looking into reports that Capt. Israel Bayona, police chief of Datu Piang, Maguindanao, was the target of the attack by members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) on Thursday night.

“Isasama po yan ng mga imbestigador natin. Lahat po ng angle ay titingnan (Our investigators would include that in the probe. All angles would be looked into),” PNP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana said in media statement on Friday.

Earlier reports quoted Joint Task Force Central spokesman Lt. Col. Anhouvic Atilano as saying that around 50 suspected members of the BIFF and terrorist group Dawlah Islamiya attacked Barangay Poblacion, resulting in an encounter between the terrorists and government troops.

Usana, meanwhile, added that there were no casualties from the incident but a police vehicle was burned.

“The PNP Regional Mobile Force Battalion and the Army from 40th Infantry Brigade responded immediately and reinforced the troops in the area. After 45 minutes, the municipality was cleared from any further intrusion,” he added.

PNP chief, Gen. Debold Sinas, meanwhile, has alerted the Special Action Force to help in pursuit operations against those behind the attack.

“The police will file criminal charges against those terrorists responsible for the attack and burning of our patrol car, as we assure the Datu Piang residents of intensified security measures to prevent similar threats posed by violent extremists in the future”, Sinas said in a statement.

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