PHILIPPINE National Police chief, General Camilo Pancratius P. Cascolan has ordered more ‘intelligence-driven operations’ to neutralize ISIS-inspired terrorists hiding in Metro Manila and other urban parts of the country.
“This is part of our aggressive operation versus terrorists. The series of arrests of most wanted terrorists actually has a very big impact on their future plans since their operations were virtually paralyzed,” the top cop said.
The top cop admitted that they likewise need the support of a vigilant citizenry in their effort to get members of the Abu Sayyaf
and the Dawlah Islamiyah believed to be plotting more terror attacks given the opportunity.
Last week, the PNP chief announced the arrest of four most wanted terror suspects who were accused of involvement in bombing, kidnapping and beheading of soldiers in Mindanao following a series of well-coordinated intelligence operations in the region.
According to Cascolan, the two major police operations were launched in Zamboanga City by members of the Police Regional Office 9, the PNP Intelligence Group, PNP Special Action Force and the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
Cascolan said that police operatives raided a suspected Abu Sayyaf safehouse along Love Drive in Kampo Islam, Bgy. Lower Calarian on the strength of a search warrant for illegal possession of explosives issued by Judge Gregorio dela Peña of the Zamboanga City Regional Trial Court Branch 12.
The PNP chief said that three suspects identified as Kadija Sadji,31; Abdulman Sarapuddin Tula alias ‘Mahn,’32; and Jailani Al-Rafee Sakandal, a 31-year old member of the Philippine Coast Guard, were arrested during the raid for illegal possession of components of improvised explosive devices contained in a can of cookies; 9-volt batteries, electrical tools, assorted wires, resistors, metal clips and 500 grams of concrete nails.
Also confiscated from the trio were two hand grenades, a caliber .45 pistol, several rounds of 5.56mm rifle ammunition and a black ISIS flag. All are now being held at the Zamboanga City police headquarters.
PNP-IG director, Brigadier Gen. Edgar S. Monsalve said a background investigation revealed Sadji and Tula are members of the Abu Sayyaf Group and financial conduits of the ISIS-inspired Dawlah Islamiyah headed by fugitive terror leader Mundi Sawadjaan.
Tula has been identified by the police as the one in-charge of procuring logistics and provisions for the groups of Sawadjaan and elusive Abu Sayyaf leader Radullan Sahiron in Sulu.
The PNP chief said he has alerted his men to be on the lookout for possible retaliatory attacks from the Abu Sayyaf in the wake of the series of successful PNP counter-terror operations since last month.
“They (terrorists) are still plotting more bombings especially in Zamboanga peninsula and we always have to be on our toes,” he said.
Monsalve said their ‘intelligence-driven operations’ are bearing fruit with the arrests of senior members of the Abu Sayyaf.
“These are terrorists whose only goal is to always conduct terror operations targetting security forces and civilians as collateral damage. As they always say, the mind of a terrorist is a mind of a terrorist so they always want to inflict damage,” said the PNP-IG director.
Monsalve said they are focusing on ‘intelligence-driven counter-terror operations’ on orders of Cascolan.
“We are conducting aggressive operations versus them and are always in alert knowing that each time we capture their key operatives, their main consideration is to retaliate,” Monsalve added.
The PNP-IG head described Sadji as the wife of Al Asgar, a son of the late Abu Sayyaf founder Abubakar Abdurajak Janjalani. The woman is said to be a key member of the financial conduit cell of the terror ring whose lone member identified as Amaida Salvin was arrested in Zamboanga City on April 16, 2019.
He said that Sadji is also known for her association with Merhama Abdul Sawari alias ‘Meng,’ one of the four suspected Abu Sayyaf Group ‘sleeper agents’ killed in a gunbattle with the police in their Parañaque City safehouse last June 26.
Sakandal was identified as an active member of the Philippine Coast Guard with the rank of Apprentice Seaman. “He is undergoing further investigation to determine his role in the activities of the group,” said Cascolan.
The PNP chief also announced the capture on Sunday of Hassan Anang Mohammad alias ‘Commander Usi,’ a senior member of the Abu Sayyaf wanted for the kidnapping and beheading of businessman Doroteo Gonzales in Al-Barka, Basilan on May 17, 2009 as well as the killing and beheading of seven Marine troopers in the same municipality in July 2007 following an ambush.
The suspect is now under guard at the Camp Navarro Hospital in Upper Calarian, Zamboanga City.
Cascolan said that a composite team from the PNP-IG, the PRO9 headed by Brig. Gen. Jesus D. Cambay Jr., the PNP-CIDG under Major Gen. Joel Napoleon M. Coronel, the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency and the Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command arrested the suspect on the basis of a warrant of arrest for kidnapping-for-ransom and serious illegal detention issued by Judge Jesus Carbon Jr. of the Zamboanga.