GOVERNMENT forces foiled another bombing attempt in Mindanao following the arrest of three alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) during a joint police and military operation in Zamboanga City.
Major Felimon Tan, spokesman for the Wester Mindanao Command (Westmincom), identified the arrested ASG men as Jamar Musa Maing, 41; Ahmad Tandih Lawisan, 33 and Omar Kumbing Tandih, 36.
The suspects were cornered in their alleged hideout near the motor pool of the Zamboanga City Water District on Friday in Barangay Pasonanca, following citizens’ report on the presence of unidentified armed men in the area.
Seized from the three were two fragmentation grenades, a caliber 38 revolver with six live rounds of ammunition, and two cellular phones.
Tan said that based on intelligence information, the suspects were tasked to conduct bombing operations in Zamboanga City.
“They are all members of the Ajang-Ajang group believed to be responsible for liquidation of troops and other criminal acts in the area,” Tan said in the report.
The Ajang-Ajang group is led by Ben Saudi, one of the sub-leaders of the ASG based in Sulu.
Authorities said the vigilance demonstrated by concerned residents in reporting suspicious activity likely helped thwart possible atrocities planned by the group.
The arrest of the three came at the height of an intense military offensive against the ASG in Sulu, and the implementation of a full alert status in neighboring cities like Zamboanga City.
President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered intensified military operations against the Abu Sayyaf to crush the group, which has beheaded three hostages – two Canadians and a Filipino – and is holding at least 10 more, including seven foreigners, in the hinterlands of Sulu.