Suspected bombmaker linked to Jolo Cathedral blasts nabbed in Zamboanga City
Alleged bombmaker Hashim Saripada is suspected to have links to at least two deadly bombing incidents in 2019.
Screengrab from Philippine National Police livestream
Suspected bombmaker linked to Jolo Cathedral blasts nabbed in Zamboanga City
( - September 28, 2020 - 2:38pm

MANILA, Philippines — Authorities arrested a suspected bombmaker and close aide of Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Mundi Sawadjaan in Zamboanga City over the weekend, Police Gen. Camilo Pancratius Cascolan said Monday.

In a press briefing, the PNP chief said law enforcers arrested Hashim Saripada, also known as Ibnu Kashir, early Sunday morning in Zamboanga City. Police identified Saripada as a “trusted aide” of Sawadjaan.

Sawadjaan is a bomb expert and tagged to have orchestrated the twin suicide bombing attacks last August 24 that killed 15 and injured more than 70 others downtown Jolo.

Cascolan said Saripada’s arrest will be a “very, very big blow” to Sawadjaan. “Most of his activities not cannot continue... He knows he is being monitored,” the PNP chief said referring to the terrorist leader.

Operatives of Regional Intelligence Unit Region IX and the 84th Special Action Company (Seaborne) at Barangay Recodo arrested Saripada, who has pending warrants for multiple murder and frustrated murder chargers from an Isabela, Basilan court.

Seized in his possession were a hand grenade and materials used in making Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), police said.

Lamitan, Jolo Cathedral bombings

Cascolan said Saripada is said to have a “key role” in the July 31, 2019 bombing of a Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) in Lamitan, Basilan carried out by a Moroccan bomber.

The incident killed at least 11 people, the PNP chief said.

He added that Saripada and Sawadjaan also prepared the IED that was detonated by an Indonesian couple in Mount Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu in January 2019, where more than 20 were killed and left more than 80 wounded.

Police said they have long been monitoring Saripada, after he was tagged in the Lamitan bombing. He was said to have gone and hidden in an island in Sulu after the bombing.

Police refused to divulge more details that led to the arrest of the bombmaker. — Kristine Joy Patag

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