Army-PNP arrest 8, seize van loaded with explosives
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – A joint Army-police team arrested 8 people in a van loaded with explosives Monday afternoon, August 22, along Lumbayanague Highway in Lanao del Sur, the military said Wednesday, August 24.
Colonel Gene Ponio, deputy brigade commander of the 103rd Brigade, said that among those arrested was one of the alleged leaders of the local terror group Maute, which has pledged allegiance to ISIS. He was identified as Hashim Balawag Maute.
Arrested with him were Abdul Jabbar Tominaman Macabading, Jamil Batoa Amerul, Muhammad Sianodin Mulok and Omar Khalil, who Ponio said were involved in various terrorist activities in the province.
Three women were also arrested: Hafidah Romato Maute, said to be the wife of an alleged terrorist; Norhanna Balawag Maut; and Nasifa Pundug.
The Maute terror group has been the subject of military operations in the town of Butig, Lanao del Sur.
Last February 20, 2016, the Maute group clashed with the military, killing 60 Maute followers, including alleged Indonesian bomb expert Mohammad Muktar.
The van seized Monday carried several improvised explosive devices (IEDs), an 81-mm mortar ammunition, and other war materials, according to Ponio.
The police also recovered 2 hand grenades and two .45 caliber pistols.
These items reinforce intelligence reports that the Maute group was planning to plant explosives in Marawi, Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City, Ponio said. – Rappler.com