PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) agents have foiled a plot by the Abu Sayyaf to bomb a target in Zamboanga City following an ‘intelligence-driven’ operation which resulted in the killing of three of the would-be bombers in a gunbattle yesterday morning, said PNP chief, General Debold M. Sinas.
Recovered from the slain suspects identified as Radi Nalul Tahirin, Hasan
Alimin and Abdilla Aspalin, alleged members of the Daulah Islamiyah/ASG, were two loaded caliber .45 pistols and explosive materials, said the PNP chief.
The operation in Barangay Taluksangay, Zamboanga City was triggered by information provided by officers of the Regional Intelligence Unit 9 under the PNP Intelligence Group headed by Brigadier Gen. Edgar S. Monsalve.
It turned out that PNP-IG operatives monitored the presence of the would-be bombers with the help of informants and concerned citizens prompting them to launch the intelligence operation with the help of operatives from the PNP Special Action Force headed by Brig. Gen. Bernabe M. Balba, the Zamboanga City Police Office under Police Regional Office 9 director, Brig. Gen. Jesus D Cambay Jr. and the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group under Major Gen. Joel Napoleon Coronel.
Around 6:45 a.m. yesterday, the officers spotted the suspects while on board a pumpboat heading towards Zamboanga City. The policemen tried to approach the suspects but were met with a volley of gunfire prompting them to retaliate.
All three suspects were hit during the exchange of fire and died while being taken to the Zamboanga City General Hospital. Another suspect was believed to have been submerged under the sea after being hit. Troops are still searching for his body as of press time.
Monsalve said the slain suspects are connected with the ISIS-inspired Abu Sayyaf Group and Dawlah Islamiyah operating in Basilan and Sulu.
“We have monitored the suspects to be involved in financial terrorism and are receiving funds from ISIS supporters abroad in order to carry out bombings and other terroristic activities in Mindanao,” the official said.