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Jolo ‘bomber’ eludes arrest

“Kamah”, one of three men suspected of having a hand in the twin bombings of the Jolo
Cathedral Sunday, eluded arrest Tuesday night following a raid at the Kalimayan Village in Barangay Latih, Patikul, Sulu.

Three men are caught lurking near the Jolo Cathedral moments before the deadly blast last Sunday. One of them was identified by the police as alias Kamah (blue green jacket), the one who allegedly detonated the IEDs.
Three men are caught lurking near the Jolo Cathedral moments before the deadly blast last Sunday. One of them was identified by the police as alias Kamah (blue green jacket), the one who allegedly detonated the IEDs.

Heavily-armed policemen and soldiers were met by a burst of gunfire as they approached Kamah’s alleged lair.

During the shootout, troops killed Ommal Yusop, 62, an alleged member of the Ajang-Ajang Group of Abu Sayyaf, according to Chief Superintendent Graciano Mijares, regional director of Police Regional Office in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PRO-ARMM).

Mijares said Kamah and another accomplice managed to slip out unnoticed.

The raid was conducted by the Patikul Municipal Police Station, 52nd Special Action Company (SAC), Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB-14) and the military’s Joint Task Force (JTF)-Sulu.

It was unclear if Yusop, believed to be related to Kamah, was just providing assistance or was one of three persons of interest caught on closed-circuit television near the blast site.

The twin blasts killed 21 and wounded 112 others.

Senior Superintendent Bernard Banac, PNP spokesman, said police forces will not stop until Kamah and his accomplices are accosted.

He also urged the group to surrender and cooperate with authorities to shed light on the bomb attacks.

“The hot pursuit operations against alias “Kamah” and the others will continue to be intensified,” Banac said.

Authorities recovered during the raid a caliber .45 pistol and several empty shells.

On Tuesday night, President Duterte said the church attack in Jolo was a case of suicide bombing carried out by the Abu Sayyaf Group.

Citing intelligence information obtained from security authorities, the President said a suspected husband and wife were involved in the deadly suicide attacks at the Jolo cathedral that left several people dead.

“Yes we are sure of that. Walang iba. Nobody but nobody can perpetrate that kind of terrorism thereabout sa lugar,” Duterte said in a press conference during his visit to Malabon about the involvement of the Abu Sayyaf group in the twin blasts in Jolo last Sunday.

“I have no doubt. That is what the military told me, that’s what the police relayed to me. and I am guided by what the government workers would tell me,” he added.

Duterte revealed that a woman wearing a cross slipped past the security cordon and blew herself inside the Jolo cathedral. He noted that it was “not the norm” in the country to frisk a woman going to church.

Another suicide bomber believed to be the husband, on the other hand, launched the attack outside the church, according to the President.

“Yes. Babae. Lalaki ‘yung isa. Mag-asawa,” Duterte said about the suicide bombers.

“Ang problema, iyan ang… Kasi ‘yung babae, almost wearing a cross pa. malaki ang cross sa dibdib niya so who would ever think,” he said.

 

“The other bomber was outside. There was no reason for him to be frisked. Either he was just passing by before blowing himself up,” he added.

Asked if the bombers were Filipinos or foreigners, Duterte said there were still conflicting reports about the nationality.

“They said that it’s Indonesian. Others say from the looks of it, it was — wala kang makita. No part of the body… Sumabog eh. Kasi terrorism talaga iyan saka suicide iyan unless nilagay doon,” he said. (Martin Sadongdong/Genalyn Kabiling)

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Written by Rey Bancod

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