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Prime suspect in Jolo blast, 4 others give up

A henchman of Abu Sayyaf leader Hatib Sawadjaan, along with four followers, all considered conspirators to the deadly bombing of a Catholic church in Jolo that was carried out by two Indonesian suicide bombers, have surrendered, police said Monday.

Prime suspect in Jolo blast, 4 others give up
 A day earlier, the primary suspect, identified as Kammah Pae in the deadly Jolo, Sulu church bombing yielded to authorities, according to PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde. UNTV News
Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde said Kammah Pae, alias Kamah, tagged as the principal cohort of Indonesian jihadist bombers surrendered to the Army’s 35th Infantry Battalion on Saturday and was handed over to the police Sunday.

READ: ISIS owns up to Jolo blasts

Shortly after Kammah’s surrender, four of his followers also turned themselves in to the local police in Sulu Sunday.

Albayalde identified them as Albaji Kisae, alias Awag, Rajan Bakil Gadjali, alias Radjan; Kaisar Bakil Gadjali, alias Isal; said to be bomb-makers and Salit Alih, alias Papong.

Minutes after two bombs went off inside and outside of Mt. Carmel Cathedral, the military pointed to Kammah’s involvement.

He said Kammah surrendered under the pressure of a massive manhunt. He added that his companions said it was Kammah who escorted the Indonesian couple to the church.

Soldiers and police found explosives in Kammah’s house.

The Ajang-Ajang group to which Kammah belongs is composed mainly of orphaned children of ASG bandits.

READ: Ajang-Ajang man falls; Kamah escapes

Reports said Kammah was an adjutant of Sawadjaan, who grew up in the terrorist mainstream, tapped as an errand boy during his teenage years.

A case for multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder will be filed against the five suspects before the provincial prosecutor office of Sulu.

Albayalde said 14 other suspects remained at large, including the mastermind Sawadjaan. Among them were Makrim Habbisi, alias Makrim, Barak Ingug, alias Barak Abdulgani, Usman Aka Ubin, a certain Arab Puti and nine John Does.

The plan was hatched on Jan. 8 when Muksin and Usman tried to assemble an IED in Barangay Latih.

Four days later, Sawadjaan met Usman and Barak in Barangay Bastiong, Partikul, and provided them with funds for the bombing mission.

On Jan. 21, an Indonesian couple holed out in Lampinging Island for few days after arriving in the country, and sailed to Jolo Island on Jan. 24.

The couple was met by Kammah’s group—Papong, Awag and Radjan at a gasoline station and boarded Awag’s jeepney along with five boys who later disembarked along the way.

Upon reaching Sitio Usaw, Barangay Langhub, Patikul, near the house of Usman, Kammah together with Barak, Makrim and Usman joined the couple and proceeded to Sitio Bastiong, Barangay Langub, Patikul.

Upon their arrival, Kamah and Barak escorted the couple towards a forested portion of Sitio Bastiong where they met Sawadjaan and eventually mapped out the plan for the bombing. The bomb plot was attended by Barak, Kammah, Awag, Usman, Makrim, Isal, Radjan and Papong.

On the eve of the bomb attack, the couple, each toting black trolley bags were escorted to Barangay Latih by Usman, Barak and nine other unidentified armed men. The couple then boarded Awag’s jeepney en route for Jolo, arriving there at at about 5:10 p.m.

The couple, after their arrival in Jolo, disembarked in front of Suleco Building and went to undisclosed place in the island until a powerful bomb made of GI sheets, serving it as casing, containing ammonium nitrate-fuel, the primary explosive charge, went off inside Mt. Carmel and in front of the Church at about 8:30 a.m. Sunday.

At present, the identities of the Indonesian couple has not been established, and the government has sought the help of the Indonesian government to identify them.

Albayalde said they are now investigating where the ASG is getting their funds to further their terror acts.

“They affiliate themselves to ISIS so that ISIS will funnel funds to them,” he said.

He said in lieu of foreign funding, ASG leader Sawadjaan is locally sourcing its funds through extortion, kidnapping and illegal drugs, and the revenues from the sacking of Marawi City.

Sawadjaan assumed the post vacated by ASG chieftain Isnilon Hapilon following his death in the Marawi City attack in 2016.

In a TV interview, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año admitted that the failure to install CCTV cameras inside and outside the Jolo church was a security lapse, given the threat of a bomb attack.

The DILG chief also told the GMA News network that while he has announced that an Indonesian couple bombed the cathedral based on the accounts of his sources, this was not captured by CCTV videos owned by private businesses near the cathedral.

Topics: Abu Sayyaf , Hatib Sawadjaan , suicide bombers , Philippine National Police , Oscar Albayalde , Kammah Pae
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