Cotabato mall bomber dies in clash with police
This undated file photo taken in 2019 shows soldiers of the military's 6th Infantry Division inspecting vehicles entering Cotabato City, where military presence at the checkpoints increased after the New Year's Eve mall blast at Cotabato City. Unson

Cotabato mall bomber dies in clash with police

( - December 1, 2020 - 6:31pm

MANILA, Philippines — The alleged mastermind of the 2018 New Year’s Eve bombing of a shopping mall in Cotabato City was shot and killed in an encounter with police early Tuesday morning, the national police said later that same day.

In a release sent to reporters, the Philippine National Police disclosed that Abraham Abad Abdulrahman, also known as Abu Suffian, died in a firefight against a composite police team carrying out a search warrant in Brgy. Bagua 2, Cotabato City at 1:30 a.m.

Suffian was among the prime suspects in the Cotabato mall blast that left two dead and injured at least 30 others after the improvised explosive device used in the attack was found to be packed with nails and metal fragments. 

Police records also identified him as a member of the Dawlah Islamiya who attended IED training in 2015 in Sultan Kudarat under the late Mohammad Jaafar Maguid, also known as Tokboy Maguid, of the pro-ISIS extremist group Ansar al-Khilafah Philippines.

"Abu Suffian, who is believed to be the husband of Jasmiyah offered stiff resistance to the lawful search and engaged the police team in a firefight. He was armed with a cal.45 pistol and a hand grenade. Jasmiyah, however, managed to escape," the PNP statement reads, adding that he had been operating under Salahuddin Hassan and IED expert Abu Naim, under the direct supervision of Abu Turaife of the DI-BIFF. 

READ: 2 dead in Cotabato mall blast

According to a post-operation report from Police Col. Warren de Leon, who serves as acting director of the PNP Intelligence Group, a joint PNP team was searching the residence of Jasmiyah Camsa Imbrahim when it recovered a 60mm high-explosive mortar projectile, IED components, and a motorcycle.

The joint team was composed of elements of the Counter-Terrorism Division of Regional Intelligence Units 12 and 15 of the PNP Intelligence Group; Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-BAR Regional Field Unit; PNP Special Action Force; and Cotabato City Police Office

Six minor children were rescued from the area of encounter while another woman found in the house was placed under custody, police said. 

"Suffian also took part in the siege of Butig and Marawi City, Lanao del Sur with the Maute Group, and is among the masterminds of the South Seas Mall bombing in Cotabato City on December 31, 2018, that killed two persons and wounded 30 others. He escaped the military-police operation in Marawi City along with some widows of fallen jihadists and sought refuge in Maguindanao," the PNP added. 

Police Gen. Debold Sinas, the chief of the PNP, commended the teams involved with the operation but was careful to urge other PNP units to intensify efforts against terrorist personalities belonging to domestic and transnational threat groups.

— Franco Luna 

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