AFP official say control access points vs. small ASG units

Col. De Leon.
Photo from Phil. Navy website.

Sun for Mon / Feb 10 for Feb 11, 2013
Written by: Dennis D. Estopace, Reporter
[295 words /1,410 characters (spaces not counted)]

ENTRY and exit points in an area where negotiations for the release of a kidnapped Jordanian led to a violent clash February 3 are controlled, an AFP official said.
“As of now, there is no indication na nakalabas sila sa ‘cordoned area’ natin,” Col. Orlando E. De Leon, Commander of the 2nd Marine Brigade, Philippine Navy, told reporters on Friday.
De Leon said that his men have secured the entry and exit points of the lowland areas of Mount Sinumaan where negotiations for the release of journalist Baker Atyani and two television crew members led to a shootout between the MNLF and the ASG.
De Leon earlier explained that a break-down in the negotiations by the Moro National Liberation Front with the Abu Sayyaf Group led to a 4-hour exchange of gunfire between the members of the two groups.
Only the two television crew were released and Atyani is believed still in the hands of the ASG, which reportedly broke into smaller units.
“Ang ginagawa namin dito ay mino-monitor talaga yung movements nila. Whether they split up into smaller groups or not, our objective is for not one of them exit the conflict area.”
De Leon said he can’t comment on the fate of Atyani since the monitoring of kidnap victims is led by the local police.
He added they have not received information that the MNLF already has Atyani.
However, he maintained that the AFP is still monitoring the area where the gunfight occurred and that the 2nd Marine Brigade has established checkpoints on every known egress point.
“So far, no indication na lumabas sila sa linya namin at andun pa rin sila contained sa isang lugar lang. Actually, maliit lang naman yung area na pinag-awayan nila at nanduon naman yung mga troops natin.”

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