AFP apologizes for secretive operation | Global News

AFP apologizes for secretive operation

/ 07:24 AM October 25, 2014


Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Gregorio Catapang. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. on Friday apologized to Sulu officials for the concealment of the details behind the release last week of the two Germans kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf in late April.

The AFP chief was in Sulu on Friday to attend a consultative meeting with local officials organized by Sulu Gov. Sakur Tan II.


Catapang cleared the misunderstanding during the meeting with local officials in the province, according to AFP public affairs office head Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc.


“Everything was sorted out and resolved here during the meeting of (Catapang) and the people of Sulu [this morning]. Gen. Catapang [said] sorry for the misunderstanding. They were satisfied by the result and General Catapang’s gesture,” Cabunoc said.

Catapang’s visit came a week after the Abu Sayyaf group released German nationals Viktor Stefan Okonek and Henrite Dieter.

However, the Sulu government claimed they were kept in the dark about the release, learning about it only through media reports.

Meanwhile, Catapang said the military will be involving residents in Sulu in the resolution of the Abu Sayyaf problem in the province.

The AFP chief has ordered military commanders in the province to visit local officials and seek their help in identifying community problems.

“We will help identify development projects and other social interventions that will directly address the problems,” the AFP chief said in a statement.


Tan expressed support for moves to organize a peace and economic summit involving different stakeholders, including civil society organizations.

“We will do our part by working closely with different organizations. We also believe that we can solve these problems by helping each other,” the official said.

Friday’s consultative meeting at the Sulu provincial capitol was attended by 15 mayors all over the province.

Catapang added that a possibility of a ceasefire with the Abu Sayyaf group is possible on condition that they release all their captives.

“That is possible but they need to release all hostages first. Let us help change their lives,” the official said, referring to the Abu Sayyaf.


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Release of Germans leaves 11 to 15 hostages still in Abu hands

TAGS: Abu Sayyaf, AFP, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr., Kidnapping, Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc

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