Maute group member nabbed in QC.
Police said they foiled bomb attacks set to be carried out in Metro Manila with the arrest of a 35-year old member of a Central Mindanao-based terror group and confiscation of bomb materials in a raid in Quezon City.
Director General Ronald dela Rosa, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said the operation in Salam Compound in Barangay Culiat, Quezon City, on Monday also confirmed the presence of the Maute terror group in Metro Manila.
“This discovery led us to believe that the Maute Group has already established presence in Metro Manila. As to what extent, that is the subject of our follow-up operation and investigation,” said dela Rosa.
He identified the arrested suspect as Nasif Ibrahim who was tagged as among those who planned the foiled bombing attack at the Rizal Park in Manila in November last year. He was reportedly the driver of the car that transported the bomb.
It was recalled that the bomb, which was supposed to be left near the Rizal Park, was abandoned near the US Embassy in Manila. The suspected bombers tried to detonate the cellphone call-triggered improvised explosive device, but it did not go off.
The CCTV footages led to the arrest of those who left the bomb which in turn led the cops to the other suspects.
A total of four were arrested in follow-up operations — identifeid as Rayson Kilala, Mohammad Jumao-as, Elmer Romero and Jiaher Guinar. They were tagged as members of the Maute Group.
The arrest of Ibrahim brought to five the total number of Maute Group members arrested in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
Dela Rosa said follow-up operations are still being conducted against other members of the group, which include an imam in Tanza, Cavite, identified as Yusof Macoto who was tagged the brains behind the foiled attack.
Police are still investigating the supposed targets of the attack that would be carried out in Metro Manila, but they are optimistic that Ibrahim would squeal.
Police intelligence operatives, earlier said, there were attempts to carry out bomb attacks during the Black Nazarene procession and the coronation of the Miss Universe pageant.
Dela Rosa said the Maute group is trying to get the attention of the international terror group ISIS and a successful bomb attack would have resulted in the group getting foreign funding.
This is the reason, he said, why the Maute Group would not give up in its effort to conduct bombing activities.
“I am glad that alert operatives of the NCRPO (National Capital Region Police Office) discovered and intercepted in time an improvised explosive device being prepared by the suspects even before it can be delivered to its possible target or used somewhere,” said dela Rosa.
Aside from the IED, the cops also seized two .45 pistols, a submachine gun and seven sachets of shabu.
“I do not want to sound alarmist or cause panic, but prudence, it has been said, is the better part of valor,” said dela Rosa.
“I therefore urge our people to remain calm yet alert and vigilant of the presence of threat groups in our midst,” he added.
But dela Rosa said they are continuously coordinating with the military to secure the public and deny terror groups the opportunity to attack. (AARON B. RECUENCO)