Bombing foiled in ARMM during Duterte visit
John Unson (The Philippine Star) - October 31, 2016 - 12:00am

COTABATO CITY, Philippines – Two bombs were found last Saturday near a compound in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao while President Duterte was there.

The bombs were fashioned out of an 81-millimeter mortar round and a 105-mm howitzer cannon shell rigged with blasting mechanisms attached to mobile phones.

Duterte was in the ARMM compound to meet with Gov. Mujiv Hataman.

Authorities found the two improvised explosive devices before dawn Saturday at the hideouts of confessed Dawla Islamiya Fi Cotabato members Mohammad Chenikandiyil, Jackson Usi, Zacaria Lopez and Ansan Mamasapano in Broce district in Datu Odin Sinsuat town and in Cotabato City.

They were immediately taken to Davao City for interrogation.

The Dawla Islamiya is operating in the fashion of the Islamic State.

Key sources from the Police Regional Office-12 and the Army’s 6th  Infantry Division told The STAR the prompt recovery of the IEDs and the arrest of the four were carried out with the   help of Cotabato City Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi and Hataman.

Guiani-Sayadi was one of the local officials with Duterte during his engagement on Saturday afternoon with ARMM officials and Governors Jim Hataman of Basilan, Rashidin Matba of Tawi-Tawi and Esmael Mangudadatu of Maguindanao.

Representatives Ruby Sahali of Tawi-Tawi, Monir Arbison of Sulu and Deputy Speaker for Mindanao Sandra Sema were also present at the event.

Maj. Gen. Carlito Galvez  Jr., commander of 6th ID, said he was thankful to Guiani-Sayadi and Hataman for helping thwart the bombing plots.

Other Army sources said Guiani-Sayadi even counseled them on how to carry out the arrest of the four to avoid technicalities that they can use in court to secure their way out.

The four suspects were accomplices of TJ Macabalang, Wendel Facturan and Musali Mustapha, who were all arrested here in early October for their involvement in the Sept. 2 bombing in Davao City that left 15 dead and injured more than 60 others.

The 6th ID used members of its elite light reaction unit and the 5th Special Forces Battalion in the raids that led to the arrest of the four  and the recovery of the IEDs.

Galvez said the combined police and military teams that arrested the four were guided to their hideouts by soldiers equipped with night vision goggles and infrared optical devices.  

Police and Army intelligence sources said the foiled bombings were meant to create an impression that the earlier arrest of Macabalang and his cohorts did not weaken the collaborating Dawla Islamiya Fi Cotabato and the Dawla extremists in Lanao del Sur.

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