MANILA Philip­pines files crim­i­nal charges against 43 Mus­lim mil­i­tants in deadly bomb­ings

The Myanmar Times - - The Metro -

CRIM­I­NAL complaints have been filed against 43 Mus­lim mil­i­tants from two armed groups linked to the Is­lamic State group for two bomb at­tacks in the south­ern Philip­pines, in­clud­ing a sus­pected sui­cide bomb­ing that killed 11 peo­ple, po­lice said Mon­day.

Mur­der complaints were filed against 18 sus­pected mem­bers of the Abu Sayyaf for a pow­er­ful blast on July 31 that killed 11 peo­ple and wounded sev­eral oth­ers in Lami­tan city on Basi­lan is­land, said Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Os­car Al­bay­alde, the na­tional po­lice chief. A for­eign mil­i­tant who drove the bomb-laden van died in the sus­pected sui­cide at­tack.

Among those fac­ing charges is an Abu Sayyaf com­man­der, Fu­ruji In­dama, who Al­bay­alde said or­dered the bomb­ing but re­mains at large along with nine other sus­pects.

Eight sus­pects, in­clud­ing a mil­i­tant bomb ex­pert, Ju­lamin Arun­doh, who po­lice said rigged the van with plas­tic gal­lons con­tain­ing the ex­plo­sives, have been cap­tured.

In­te­rior Sec­re­tary Ed­uardo Ano said the for­eign mil­i­tant who drove the van tar­geted a public gath­er­ing of about 3000 peo­ple in Lami­tan city but his ve­hi­cle stalled and vil­lagers whom he asked for help be­came sus­pi­cious when they saw un­usual wires pro­trud­ing from plas­tic gal­lons in the ve­hi­cle.

As army troops ap­proached, the van blew up, killing the mil­i­tant and 10 other peo­ple out­side a para­mil­i­tary de­tach­ment and wound­ing sev­eral vil­lagers.

The Is­lamic State group claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the Lami­tan bomb­ing and iden­ti­fied the at­tacker as Moroc­can. How­ever, it cited a greatly in­flated mil­i­tary death toll.

Al­bay­alde said crim­i­nal complaints were also filed against 25 mem­bers of the Bangsamoro Is­lamic Free­dom Fight­ers, who are blamed for an Au­gust 28 bomb­ing that left three peo­ple dead as Isu­lan town in Sul­tan Ku­darat province cel­e­brated its an­nual found­ing fes­ti­val.

Five days af­ter the blast, an­other deadly bomb­ing hit Isu­lan, prompt­ing author­i­ties to re­move the town and provin­cial po­lice chiefs and fur­ther strengthen al­ready tight se­cu­rity in the volatile re­gion.

“It’s not only a pres­ence there, there should be po­lice in­ter­ven­tion that should be car­ried out like ... searches and check­points,” Al­bay­alde said in a news con­fer­ence in Manila.

The south­ern Philip­pines, the scene of decades-long Mus­lim sep­a­ratist re­bel­lions in the largely Ro­man Catholic na­tion, re­mains un­der mar­tial law, which Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte de­clared last year to deal with a five-month siege of south­ern Marawi city by Is­lamic State grou­plinked mil­i­tants. The dis­as­trous siege left more than 1200 peo­ple dead, mostly mil­i­tants, dis­placed hun­dreds of thou­sands of vil­lagers and sparked fears that Is­lamic State was gain­ing a foothold in the re­gion amid de­feats in Syria and Iraq.

Ex­trem­ist fac­tions of Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Is­lamic Free­dom Fight­ers have aligned them­selves with Is­lamic State. Small but vi­o­lent, the two groups op­pose an au­ton­omy deal Duterte signed with the largest Mus­lim rebel group in the coun­try, the Moro Is­lamic Lib­er­a­tion Front, which has dropped se­ces­sion­ism for broader au­ton­omy for mi­nor­ity Mus­lims in the south. – AP IT was his first en­counter with a hang­ing case while on the job as an am­bu­lance driver, and he wanted to share it on so­cial me­dia with his col­leagues.

So Shaik Haziq Fahmi Shaik Na­sair Jo­har whipped out his hand­phone, snapped a pic­ture of a for­eign do­mes­tic helper who was found dead, hang­ing from a fan in a res­i­den­tial unit, and sent it to the What­sApp chat group of his col­leagues from Unistrong Tech­nol­ogy, a com­pany that was con­tracted to re­spond to med­i­cal emer­gen­cies on be­half of the Sin­ga­pore Civil De­fence Force (SCDF).

The pic­ture he took of the do­mes­tic worker – who can­not be named due to a court or­der – ended up go­ing vi­ral on so­cial me­dia, spark­ing po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions on how it was taken and dis­sem­i­nated.

On Mon­day, Haziq, 29, was fined S$1500 (K1.68 mil­lion) for con­tra­ven­ing the Of­fi­cial Se­crets Act (OSA), af­ter he ad­mit­ted to tak­ing and send­ing the photo on What­sApp.

Haziq, who has been ter­mi­nated by Unistrong, is the sec­ond per­son dealt with in court over the in­ci­dent.

Last month, Haziq’s col­league, Nur­rizah Afiqah Hus­sain, 27, was fined S$3000 af­ter she pleaded guilty to two of­fences un­der the OSA.

The for­mer para­medic had sent her boyfriend the photo that Haziq had taken, along with a call sheet is­sued by the SCDF.

On Mon­day, the court heard that Haziq, Nur­rizah, and two other Unistrong staff re­sponded to a call for a med­i­cal emer­gency on Fe­bru­ary 1 last year.

Nur­rizah took a photo of the call sheet and sent it to her boyfriend via What­sApp. She later took an­other photo of the call sheet and sent it to a What­sApp chat group com­pris­ing 19 em­ploy­ees from Unistrong.

Af­ter that, the team of four went to the caller’s apart­ment to­gether with po­lice of­fi­cers to carry out their du­ties.

Be­fore leav­ing, Haziq took a photo of the de­ceased’s body that was still hang­ing, while Nur­rizah shone a torch­light on the body to en­able him to take the photo. Haziq then sent the photo to the same What­sApp group of 19 Unistrong em­ploy­ees, court doc­u­ments said.

Nur­rizah for­warded that photo to her boyfriend Fa­zli Hisham Mohd Fairuz Shah, who sent it to an­other What­sApp chat group. One of his friends in that chat group for­warded the pho­tos to three other do­mes­tic work­ers here, and one of them posted the images on Face­book.

Af­ter learn­ing that the pho­tos were cir­cu­lat­ing on so­cial me­dia, the de­ceased’s agent in­formed the de­ceased’s em­ployer, who made a po­lice re­port.

Deputy Public Prose­cu­tor Se­lene Yap told the court on Mon­day that Haziq had ob­tained the photo in the course of his duty, de­spite be­ing aware of con­fi­den­tial­ity clauses in his em­ploy­ment con­tract.

In his sen­tenc­ing re­marks, District Judge Marvin Bay called Haziq’s act of post­ing the photo on What­sApp “deeply dis­turb­ing”. – TO­DAY On­line

Photo: EPA

Filipino sol­diers stand guard on a street in Manila, Philip­pines, on Au­gust 1.

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