Friday, June 30, 2017

Planned GenSan bombings foiled

From the Manila Bulletin (Jun 29): Planned GenSan bombings foiled

Police have foiled the planned series of bombings in General Santos City following the arrest of a member of an extremist gang who was among those tasked to plot the improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Supt. Romeo Galgo, spokesman of the Northern Mindanao regional police, said an intense manhunt was already launched against the two companions of the arrested suspect, 20-year-old Abdulazis Mangambit Tungan.

General Santos City Map (Photo courtesy of Google Map | Manila Bulletin)
Tungan, a native of Maasim town of Sarangani, is reportedly a member of the Ansar Al-Khalifa Philippines, an extremist group which pledged allegiance with the ISIS (Islamic Stat of Iraq and Syria) along with the Maute Group.
“With his arrest, we were able to thwart their bombing plans, word of which we have been receiving in the past weeks,” said Gonda.

The intelligence reports said a terror group was planning bombing activities in General Santos City with the City Hall, churches and malls as targets. Police sources said the intent was to expand the militants’ activities beyond Marawi and to shake up Mindanao.

Police intelligence operatives then conducted background check on Ansar Al-Khalifa and found out about one of the very few surviving members of the group identified as Ramram Tungan.
It was recalled that the leader of the Ansar Al-Khalida, Mohammad Jaafar “Tokboy” Maguid, was killed in a police operation early this year.

Maguid, before his death, had been in constant meeting with the Maute brothers allegedly on how to help the ISIS establish a firm footing in Mindanao through a virtual caliphate.

Maguid’s death meant the reduction of the operational capability of the group.

Police then launched a massive search for Tungan who turned out to be included in the list of the persons that the Defense department wanted arrested in connection with the Marawi City attack.
“He was seen standing beside the church of a religious sect, suspiciously uneasy. He attempted to run when his arrest was announced but he was immediately cornered,” said Gonda, adding that the arrest occurred on Wednesday morning.

A hand grenade was seized from Tungan and that will be used in the filing of criminal charges against him. Local police investigators are grilling Tungan as to the whereabouts of his two companions.

The entire Mindanao is currently under the state of Martial Law after President Duterte’s declaration following the Marawi City attack on May 23. Efforts to purge Maute gunmen in Marawi City are on-going.

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