The Philippine National Police on Monday arrested eight suspects reportedly involved in the bloody bombing incident in Lamitan, Basilan last July 31 that left 11 people killed and wounded seven.
PNP Chief Oscar Abayalde said that aside from the eight arrested suspects, 10 more direct accomplices, namely Furuji Indama, alias Boy Sopek and Abu Jhovel, one of the leaders of the Abu Sayyaf Group and principal architect in the bombing, are the object of a massive manhunt.
Albayalde identified the eight bombing suspects as Musa Jallaha, Hadji Hurang, alias Nura Narimin, Nsir Nuruddin, alias Battuh Murah, Al Basir Ahmad, Abdurahim Lijal, alias Mike Lijal, Ammar Indama, alias Ammar Matahul Mohammad, Julamin Arundoh, alias Mammin Totong and Saad Tedie, alias Boga Tedie.
He said that the eight suspects participated in the transport, planning, and assembly of IED components to the bombing site which exploded prematurely minutes after the van carrying the explosive cargo was intercepted at a checkpoint which went off minutes later. Albayalde added that Musa acted as middleman for the purchase of the van and helped in loading the IEDs into the vehicle; while Julamin, a bomb expert, assembled and rigged the IED. Saad, meanwhile, took part in the planning that assisted in the preparation of the explosive.
The PNP has identified and charged 25 members of a breaking faction of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and several accomplices in the Aug. 28, Isulan, Kudarat bombing that left three persons killed and 36 others wounded.
Albayalde said an information was filed over the weekend before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Sultan Kudarat against the suspects.
Two separate criminal cases for murder and multiple frustrated murder were filed before the Regional Trial Court Branch 2 of Isabela City, Basilan against the 18 suspects.
Following the bombing incidents in Basilan and Sultan Kudarat, Albayalde said terrorism remains on top of the security concerns of the national police, particularly in the Asean region.
He said terrorism was among the top issues discussed during the 38th Asean National Police Conference hosted by the Royal Brunei Police Force in Bander Seri Begawan.
“The PNP delegation had the honor to present the Philippines’ country paper on Terrorism wherein the PNP recognized the significant contribution of international initiatives and cooperation in addressing terrorism,” Albayalde said.
The PNP has presented the backdrop of the infamous five-month Marawi City siege in 2017 which Albayalde said recognized the close coordination between Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia through the Police Attache’ that helped in the identification, accounting and neutralization of foreign terrorist fighters who took part in the Islamic City.
“Against the backdrop of the infamous five-month siege of Marawi City in 2017, the PNP recognized the close coordination between Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia through the Police Attachés that helped in the identification, accounting and neutralization of foreign terrorist fighters who took part in the Marawi City siege and are still staying in Southern Philippines,” Albayalde said.
“It was also noted that since the start of 2018 that no cross-border incident has taken place as a result of existing mechanisms of cooperation between Indonesia, Philippines, and Malaysia in relation to safeguarding our maritime tri-boundary through joint and coordinated patrols in the Sulu, North Sulawesi and Celebes Seas,” he said.