COTABATO CITY – Alert soldiers foiled an attempt by three men to smuggle explosives into the town center of Banga, South Cotabato, police said Monday.
Col. Jemuel Siason, South Cotabato police director, said suspected communist terrorists Merlyn Bansil Guisan, 42; Ronald Olin Bansil, 27; and 30-year-old Andy Gelodin were arrested by members of the 5th Special Forces Battalion, a unit under the Army’s 6th Infantry Division here, at a checkpoint in Barangay Lamba on Sunday afternoon.
“The suspects were on board a motorcycle and told soldiers manning a checkpoint that they were heading to the town center,” Siason said in a radio interview.
One of them looked uneasy when soldiers, led by Sgt. Douglas Bersamin Jr., inspected a backpack where an MK2 fragmentation grenade and an improvised explosive device with a mobile phone as a trigger mechanism were found.
"These explosives are commonly used by the communist New People’s Army (NPA) operating in this province," Siason said.
The three are now detained at the Banga municipal police detention facility and will face charges for possession of explosives.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)