Bukidnon cops place 53 ‘hot’ villages on poll watchlist
MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/09 March)– Fifty-three of Bukidnon’s 464 barangays have been classified as “election watchlist areas,” Supt. Narciso Domingo, provincial deputy police director for administration, said Friday. He said that 48 villages were included in the list because of the alleged presence of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels. The Bukidnon Provincial Police Office (BPPO) announced it will deploy for the May 13 elections a total of 635 policemen to secure the province’s 538 polling places, especially those in its watch-list. Senior Supt. Orlando Beñas, Bukidnon police director, said that communist insurgency remains a pressing concern for the province with at least two rebel fronts operating in the area.
Kitaotao town has the most number of villages under the “election watch-list” at 35, the BPPO said. San Fernando town followed with nine, including the village of Dao, where tribal leader Jimmy Liguyon was killed on March 5, 2012 allegedly by a paramilitary group. Quezon town has six villages on the watch-list namely Barangays Sta. Felomina, Linabo, Lipa, Delapa, Kipaypayon, and Sta. Cruz. In Valencia City, which has 31 barangays, the list includes Barangays Concepcion, Banlag, Laligan, Guinoyuran, Lilingayon, and Lurogan. The last three villages were included due to the “presence of criminal gangs,” the BPPO said. Five of Pangantucan town’s 19 villages were on the list namely Barangays Adtuyon, Gandingan, New Eden, Portulin, and Mendis.
The town of Impasug-ong has three villages on the watch-list: Buntongan, Sayawan, and Kalabugao. Two of Malaybalay’s 46 villages were on the watch-list: Dalwangan and Patpat, both along the city highway. The villages of Canangaan and Mandahican in Cabanglasan, Bugwak and Kapalaran in Dangcagan, Pamotolon and Malinao in Kalilangan, and Magsaysay and Kisawa in Kibawe were also on the watch-list. Barangay Imbayao in Don Carlos town is also included in the list. The towns without villages on the watch-list were Baungon, Damulog, Kadingilan, Lantapan, Libona, Malitbog, Manolo Fortich, Maramag, Pangantucan, Sumilao, and Talakag. In May 2011, not an election year, the NPA rebels raided the police station in Malitbog, resulting to the relief of then Bukidnon police director Senior Supt. Cristito Rey Gonzalodo and Malitbog police chief Insp. Alexander Eugenio for their failure to thwart the attack.
Egypt protesters torch buildings, try to target Suez Canal
Egyptian protesters torched buildings in Cairo and tried unsuccessfully to disrupt international shipping on the Suez Canal, as a court ruling on a deadly soccer riot stoked rage in a country beset by worsening security. The ruling enraged residents of Port Said, at the northern entrance of the Suez Canal, by confirming death sentences imposed on 21 local soccer fans for their role in the riot last year when more than 70 people were killed.
But the court also angered rival fans in Cairo by acquitting a further 28 defendants that they wanted punished, including seven members of the police force which is reviled across society for its brutality under deposed autocrat Hosni Mubarak. Security sources said one person had died in Cairo from the effects of tear gas and 65 people were injured, some by rubber bullets. Saturday’s protests and violence underlined how Islamist President Mohamed Mursi is struggling – two years after Mubarak’s overthrow – to maintain law and order at a time of economic and political crisis. On Thursday Egypt’s election committee scrapped a timetable under which voting for the lower house of parliament should have begun next month, following a court ruling that threw the entire polling process into confusion.
The stadium riot took place last year at the end of a match in Port Said between local side Al-Masry and Cairo’s Al-Ahly team. Spectators were crushed when panicked crowds tried to escape from the stadium after a pitch invasion by Al-Masry supporters. Others fell or were thrown from terraces. Judge Sobhy Abdel Maguid, listing the names of the 21 Al-Masry fans, said the Cairo court had confirmed “the death penalty by hanging”. He also sentenced five more people to life imprisonment while others out of a total of 73 defendants received shorter terms.
In Cairo, local Al-Ahly fans vented their rage at the acquittals, setting fire to a police social club, the nearby offices of the Egyptian soccer federation and a branch of a fast food chain, sending smoke rising over the capital. A military helicopter scooped up water from the nearby Nile and dropped it on the burning buildings. “Ultra” fans, the section of Al-Ahly supporters responsible for much of the violence, said they awaited retribution for those who had planned the Port Said “massacre”. “What is happening today in Cairo is the beginning of the anger. Wait for more if the remaining elements embroiled in this massacre are not revealed,” the Ultras said in a statement.
PROTESTERS TARGET CANAL
In Port Said, where the army took over security in the city center from the police on Friday, about 2,000 residents who want the local fans spared from execution blockaded ferries crossing the Suez Canal. Witnesses said youths also untied moored speedboats used to supply shipping on the waterway, hoping the boats would drift into the path of passing vessels. Military police recovered five speedboats and brought them back to shore, but two were still drifting, one witness said.
Authorities controlling the Canal, an artery for global trade and major income source for the Egyptian government, said through traffic had not been affected. “The canal … is safe and open to all ships passing through it,” Suez Canal Authority spokesman Tarek Hassanein told the MENA news agency. The canal is a major employer in Port Said and, until now, protesters had declared it off-limits for the demonstrations apart from on one occasion when red balloons marked “SOS” were floated into the waterway.
In a separate security threat, the Interior Ministry ordered police in the Sinai peninsula to raise their state of emergency after receiving intelligence that jihadists might attack their forces there, MENA reported. Officials have expressed growing worries about security in the desert region which borders Israel and is home to a number of tourist resorts. In August last year Islamist militant gunmen killed at least 15 Egyptian policemen in an assault on a police station on the border with Israel, before seizing two military vehicles and attempting to storm the frontier. Last Thursday, Bedouin gunmen briefly held the head of U.S. oil major ExxonMobil in Egypt and his wife. The Britons, who had been heading for a Sinai resort, were released unharmed.