Sunday, June 10, 2012

MILF Armed Contacts for the First Quarter of 2012, Part I: Attack on Kidapawan City Jail

The MILF-BIAF is well known for its lack of patience regarding its incarcerated members. Most any city and provincial jail in Central and Southern Mindanao has had repeated mass escapes and attacks resulting in escapes courtesy of the BIAF and its trigger happy guerillas. Take Kidapawan City Jail as an example. Located in Barangay Amas, next to City Hall, it has had three notable attacks since 2007. In February of that year, the BIAF blew a hole through a thin section of the concrete perimeter wall by rifle grenades. Climbing through that hole the guerillas infiltrated the jail's main building and once inside, using more rifle grenades, the BIAF blew open six large cells and freed three high profile prisoners:


1) Khair Mundos, a sub-leader in the ASG, or Abu Sayyaf Group.

2) Tokan Guindo, a high ranking member of the BIAF, and a trained bomb maker

3) Sultan Datu Ali, high ranking BIAF officer who was quite generous to the BIAF 105 Base Command with proceeds from his Extortion Business. A skilled bomb maker, he trained in Afghanistan in the early 1990s, a guest of the Taliban.


Then, in March of 2009, three high profile inmates escaped from that very same jail


1) Muhalidin Sulaik Hassan, tagged as an al Khobar bomb maker tagged in the 2007 Kidapawan City Public Market Bombings (actually both were not in the market, only within sight of it) and the 2007 KMCC Mall Bombing, in that same municipality. al Khobar is a nearly defunct band of extortionists who use powerful bombs against those targets refusing to pay. Hassan isnt actually a bomb maker, though a handful of his close relatives are. Those family members were, untul Hassan's arrest, centered in the Kidapawan City home of Ustadz Abdul Aziz Hassan, in Barangay Nuangan. When authorities raided the home they discovered, among other things, twenty kilograms of Urea, a fertilizer component made from urine that capable bomb makers utilize as an oxidizer.

Muhaliden, only 20 years old when the KMCC Mall Bombing took place, merely earned between P1,000 and P3,000 ($22 to $66) per bombing, and only acted as a courier, delivering packages. In the KMCC incident, he and 19 year old Alex Takulin Sandayugan enteted the mall with a shopping bag and per mall security protocols, checked the bag at the mall's baggage counter. Far from sophisticated, Muhaliden was carrying around that baggage check stub when nabbed days later.

2) Salahudin Limpanigan, a high ranking member of the Pentagon Group, of which al Khobar had cleaved off after the Nuliok Complex War between the Government and the MILF-BIAF in 2003.

3) Khaddafy Sagandingan, leader of a vehicle theft ring and family member of high ranking MILF and BIAF members.

Interestingly, noone ever mentions an escape from that same jail on January 5th of that same year. Musali Cado, an al Khobar member who took part in the 2007 BIAF attack on the jail that freed nearly fifty men, had simply vanished. Of course there is a really strong possibility that he was not an escapee at all, but was instead a murder victim, ostensibly killed in his cell. Cado had been giving affadavits describing not only al Khobar's relationship with the BIAF (a fact that could, among other things, have destroyed the entire GPH-MILF Peace Process), but had also been detailing AFP and PNP connivance with al Khobar activities (the AFP being the Armed Forces of the Philippines and PNP being the Philippine National Police).

After all these incidents the Kidipawan City Jail is still just as vulnerable as ever. At 950PM, on February 19th, 2012, a group of fifty BIAF guerillas appeared down the road from the facility and divided themselves into two groups. The smaller of the two, the Strike Force, pulled black baclavas down over their faces and began jogging towards the jail's main entrance. Of the twelve guerillas in that lead element, two were manning RPG-2s (Rocket Propelled Grenades)...

Of the thirty-eight guerillas left behind, two three man IED Teams (Improvised Explosive Devices) moved out in different directions to set their devices. The remaining thirty-two took up Blocking Positions at key points along the BIAF's planned escape route.

As the Strike Force arrived at the gate the RPGs took up their positions and when given their signal, fired one round each into the front gate. Unfortunately for the attackers however, one of the rounds misfired, a common enough occurrence with BIAF RPGs which are all fabricated by the organisation itswlf. As a rule, an RPG Tube is useless after just two to three rounds. The misfire left the front gate intact and so the Strike Force failed to breech the jail's perimeter wall.

The single RPG round did however alert jail personnel to the problem at hand. Usually jail personnel on Mindanao will eitger run for their lives or else simply lie face down after throwing their weapons as far away from themselves as humanly possible. Such was the case in the aforementioned 2007 attack on this very same jail. Much to their credit, this time jail employees stood their ground and despite several serious casualties, managed to repulse the BIAF guerillas.

As is the case in many Philippine municipalities, the jail is immediately adjacent to the city hall. The intense firefight taking place on the jail's perimeter alerted city authorities who in turn notified first responders. En route to the scene a Fire Department vehicle and a Red Cross ambulance drove directly into a BIAF Blocking Force position. Learning that the Strike Force was withdrawing, having failed to infiltrate the jail, the Blocking Force elements began creating a diversuon. Firing an RPG round directly into a videoke bar, the BIAF directly struck two young men sitting just inside the establishment:

1) Mark Anthony Morales, 23

2) Ian Carlo Sevilla, 22

Both young men were instantly killed. Another Blocking Force element was strafing store fronts with machinegun fireand assault rifles. During this strafing a Fire Department vehicle drove directly into the BIAF line of fire and found itself pinned down. All three men inside were critically wounded:

1) Fire Chief, Inspector Romeo Tactacin

2) Fire Officer First Grade (FO1) Jonathan Cornejo

3) FO1 Jerry Anonciado

A volunteer ambulance driver from the Kidipawan City chapter of the ICRC (Red Cross), Benny "Daddy Benny" Balmediano, drove at a high rate of speed towards a storefront where terrified civilians were huddling together but 200 meters before the store one IED detonated directly under the.amvulance, kiling the widowed father of two grown children.

As all the BIAF guerillas made their way out of the city safely first responders finally arrived at the jail. While no jail personnel had been killed, several had been critically wounded:

1) Jail Officer First Grade (JO1) Joel Letada

2) JO1 Adrales Cabriles

3) JO1 Elvin Dulay

4) JO1 Ernie Aguirre

5) JO1 Raffy Yusalan
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6) JO1 Joemar Lizardo

7) JO1 Dave Dapan

8) JO1 Rizaldo Dapan

9) JO1 Al Temojin Lao

The final tally, in case anyone is keeping score, were three civilians killed, twelve civil servants wounded critically.

At the time of this latest attack the jail was holding.sixteen high value inmates. However, authorities, in all their infinite wisdom, are certain only one prisoner was the objective, Datucan "Lastikman" Montoc Samad, a high ranking BIAF officer. As is always the case, the MILF-BIAF has not only denied it was involved in the assault, but denies that Samad is even a memver of their organization. Samad had been arrested only 44 days before as he and anotger BIAF guerilla had been riding tandem on a single motorcycle in Cotabato City's Barangay Poblacion #2. Unfortunately for boyh men, tge AFP Marines' MBLT-7 (Marine Battalion Landing Team #7) had just set up an anti-KFR checkpoint on the Quirino Bridge.

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