THE terrorist group that bombed the Davao City night market plans to launch similar attacks in Metro Manila to create havoc and to insult President Rodrigo Duterte, who is waging a war on terrorism and illegal drugs, a former police intelligence chief said Thursday.
The Daulat-ul Islamiya, a unit of the Maute group in Mindanao that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, was identified Wednesday as the group behind the Davao blast that killed 15 people and wounded 70 others.
“They have indeed plans in Metro Manila. I can categorically tell you now, but I don’t know the targets,” former police intelligence director Rodolfo Mendoza said.
The Maute group led by Abdullah Maute, a Jordanian-trained terrorist, was tagged as the culprit in the deadly blast in Davao City on Sept. 2.
Abdullah is married to an unidentified Indonesian jihadist operating in Lanao province, and has an alliance with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) operating in Central Mindanao.
However, Abdullah was killed along with his brother Omar in fierce fighting with Army troopers on the outskirts of Lanao del Sur.
His Indonesian wife has reportedly been joined at four other Indonesian jihadists conducting bombing sorties in different parts of Central Mindanao.
At least five Malaysians who were recruited by the IS in their country had sought sanctuary in the country after Malaysia cracked down on homegrown Islamic militants.
They were University Malaya lecturer Dr. Mahmud Ahmad, stationary shop owner Mohd Najib Husen, former Selayang Municipal Council employee Muhammad Joraimee Awang Raimee, 39, Darul Islan Sabah members Mohd Amin Baco, 31 and Jeknal Adil, 30, both Tawau.
Reports said that the bombing in Davao City by the Maute group was to avenge the killing of Abdullah and brother Omar and several of its members in the bloody fighting in Butig town.
Mendoza’s disclosure surfaced after security forces foiled a supposed bomb attack on an unknown target following the seizure of several bomb components, tools and explosive materials in Mlang, North Cotabato Tuesday.
The recovery of the deadly bomb components in Cotabato came after security forces launched a massive manhunt against the suspected bomber in Davao City. Two suspects have been arrested.
In Sultan Kudarat, Army operatives intercepted three 60 mm mortar projectiles that were to be used as makeshift mines.
Mendoza said that the interdicted military ordnance could be attributed to the Ansar Khilafa, an IS-affiliated unit operating in Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani province led by an Indonesian jihadists and Malaysians terrorist.
Mendoza said that terrorist have evolved, disregarding their “idealistic” objectives for more profitable aims.
“This has led to the establishment of the alliances of terrorist organizations with organized crime groups to fortify their profit—generating activities,” Mendoza said.
He said alliances maintain a slew of illegal activities such as terrorism, drug trafficking, arms and human smuggling, money laundering and other transnational crimes.
“Firm strategic alliances have made it difficult for law enforcement to penetrate their targets,” he said.
To advance their illegal activities, “legitimate businesses and non-government organizations serves as fronts for these groups to cover their illegal and criminal activities.”
Security forces on Thursday foiled bomb attacks on still unknown targets following the interception and discovery of several deadly bomb components and military ordnance in two separate areas in Mindanao.
Police also intercepted a cache of firearms at a port in Masbate.
The bomb components were seized while police tried to serve warrants of arrest on two suspected bomb makers in Purok 6, Brgy Dungan, Mlang, North Cotabato while the military ordnance was intercepted at Barangay Rebukin, Sultan Kudarat.
Police raiders failed to catch the two suspects, but a search of their residence uncovered a fragmentation grenade, cellphones that could be used as detonators, blasting caps, batteries, a soldering gun, an ohmmeter tester, three circuit boards, silicon controlled rectifier and test lights, 26 light emitting diodes, capacitors, electric stranded wires, an undetermined amount of black powder, a cellphone charger, a remote control and Christmas lights.
Police Supt. Romeo Galco Jr. said the seizure was a breakthrough in their efforts to arrest potential bomb makers and to deter bombing.
In Sultan Kudarat, military intelligence operatives intercepted three projectiles for use with rocket propelled grenades.
Col. Earle Baliao, commander of the Army’s 603rd Brigade, said the RPG projectiles were similar to the explosive used in the Davao City bombing.
He added that there seemed to be a terrorist plan to plant the projectiles along the highway.
“”Definitely we foiled a bombing attempt,” Baliao said.
The Philippine National Police on Thursday said it has established the identity of the primary suspect in the Davao City blast.
PNP Chief Dir. Gen. Ronald dela Rosa said Thursday the suspect was positively identified based on the testimony of two massage therapists.
Dela Rosa said the suspect has been identified even if his face was covered, by presenting to the witnesses 20 pictures or portraits showing features.
The PNP chief did not want to name the suspect as the manhunt continues.
What is clear, he said, is that the police already know where the suspect might be hiding.
He declined to name the terrorist group behind the blast, however.
In Davao City, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said the bounty for the arrest of the bombing suspects has grown to P3 million, after a businessman and a law firm donated P500,000 each to add the the P2 million reward offered by the city government.
The mayor said P1 million would be given for information about the identity and whereabouts of the suspects, while P2 million would be given to those who can arrest and bring the suspects alive to the authorities. With Florante S. Solmerin, PNA
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