Police beefs up, resumes hunt for Abus

MANILA, Philippines— The Philippine National Police (PNP) has completed its redeployment with civilian volunteers around Sulu province as government forces returned to the field to keep pressure on bandits holding two foreign aid workers held captive by suspected Abu Sayyaf since January.

In an interview on Monday, PNP chief Director General Jesus Verzosa said the PNP has sent additional equipment, food, and vehicles to Sulu as police and military troops reassumed their position in the province.

The police chief said all police officers originally detailed in detachments around Sulu have been “fully redeployed” with civilian emergency forces (CEF), taking back positions after a withdrawal forced on the demand of Abu Sayyaf leader Albader Parad.

Verzosa said they have dispatched 80 units of handheld radios, radio mobile repeaters, air transport vehicles, armored-personnel carriers (APCs) and food supplies to police and CEF detachments in the province since March.

Verzosa said food rations of troops have also increased.

Earlier this month, the police and military had heeded Parad’s demand move out of the areas held by the Abu Sayyaf to stall the bandit group’s plan of beheading one of three Red Cross workers.

Filipino Marie Jean Lacaba was released Thursday last week after bandits allegedly succumbed to force pressure.

The redeployment started a week ago, when a state of emergency was declared in Sulu as authorities counted down to Parad’s deadline on his demand for a total pullout.

Verzosa said the redeployment included a company of some 30 officers of the Special Action Forces, PNP’s elite combat unit. An SAF battalion, composed of about 350 policemen, meanwhile remains on standby in Zamboanga City, said the police chief.

The PNP has also sent new radio equipment for police, civilian auxiliary, and military units deployed in response to the hostage crisis.

“We are upgrading radio communications of our PNP, CEF, and even the Marines. We want a uniform equipment for all of them to enhance interoperability,” Verzosa said.

He said a common radio frequency would enable the forces to communicate faster and more efficiently.

Abigail Kwok, INQUIRER.net
Tarra Quismundo, Philippine Daily Inquirer

Published in: on April 6, 2009 at 3:55 pm  Comments Off on Police beefs up, resumes hunt for Abus  
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