Troops foil bomb­ing plot in Cen­tral Min­danao

Tempo - - News - (Ali Macabalang)

COTA­BATO CITY – Se­cu­rity forces have foiled an­other al­leged plot to bomb ur­ban cen­ters in Cen­tral Min­danao after they seized im­pro­vised bombs in a vil­lage in Maguin­danao Satur­day, an Army of­fi­cial said.

Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, Army 33rd In­fantry Bat­tal­ion chief, said his unit led the counter-ter­ror raid in Si­tio Pa­galad, Barangay Da­mak­ling in Paglat, fol­low­ing a tip about the pres­ence of bombs and sus­pected ter­ror­ists in the area.

Cabunoc said their in­for­mant pro­vided him pho­tos show­ing ter­ror­ist bombers Us­tadz Yasser Sali­gan and Sheik Makak­ena, alias “Abu Ji­had,” han­dling a bomb. The sus­pects were un­der sur­veil­lance since late 2018, he added.

Com­bined troops of the 33rd IB, the 4th Spe­cial Ac­tion Bat­tal­ion, the Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tion and De­tec­tion Group, and the provin­cial po­lice raided the si­tio, a known “ter­ror­ist lair,” at around 3 a.m., he said.

The raid­ing troops ar­rested five sur­prised en­e­mies and re­cov­ered four im­pro­vised bombs and three .45 cal­iber (1911 model) pis­tols, Cabunoc said.

He said main tar­gets Abu Ji­had and Us­tadz Yasser eluded ar­rest by jump­ing into the murky wa­ters of the Liguasan Marsh upon sens­ing the ar­rival of the raid­ing troops.

Cabunoc be­lieved the ex­plo­sives with trig­ger­ing de­vices were meant for ur­ban ter­ror use in nearby Sultan Ku­darat where deadly bomb­ings hap­pened last year.

The raid was the lat­est of lo­cal suc­cess in foil­ing ter­ror plots.

It fol­lowed the pre-dawn raid by a team of 12 mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence op­er­a­tives in Barangay Tatak on the marshy bor­der of Ra­jah Buayan and two other Maguin­danao towns against lo­cal mil­i­tants har­bor­ing for­eign bomb-mak­ing ex­perts.

Sources said the raid­ing team thought their tar­gets were fewer, only to be sur­prised that more than 80 heav­ily armed men put up a five-hour fight that re­sulted to the killing of an Army sergeant and the wound­ing of a Ma­rine cap­tain lead­ing the team.

Four of the en­e­mies were killed, in­clud­ing two for­eign­ers iden­ti­fied as Abu Hud Zain, a Sin­ga­porean, and Ab­dul­rahid Ruh­misanti, an In­done­sian.

The Ma­rine cap­tain, who was wounded in the chin and neck, and his men ran out of am­mu­ni­tion, and were left with just hand­guns to fight the en­e­mies for five hours start­ing be­fore dawn.

Higher of­fi­cers have rec­om­mended the team for ci­ta­tions, with the wounded cap­tain with the Medal of Valor.

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