THE Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday identified the men behind the powerful blast in Cagayan de Oro City late last month that killed eight people.
The CIDG tagged Mohammed Abdullah Ali alias “Abdul Rakman” Salahudin Hassan, Khair Mundos, Ebrahim Zulkipli Bin Hir alias “Marwan” and Humam Abdul Najid alias Abu Jamal.
They are facing multiple murder charges along with Usman Hapids alias Mam-man, who was indicted on Monday. Hapids, a member of the Khilafa Islamiya, was allegedly the man who planted the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at Kyla’s Bistro at Limketkai Center.
Zulkipli or Marwan is a Malaysian bomb expert and a known operative of the terror group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), while Khair Mundos is reportedly the finance officer of the Abu Sayyaf Group that has contacts with JI and al-Qaeda.
Salahudin Hassan, sources said, is a member of the Al Khobar group that was involved in several extortion and bombing incidents in Mindanao targeting bus companies.
More than 30 people were injured when the IED, which was tied to a vehicle, exploded. The number of victims was high because the bistro was filled with doctors and representatives of drug manufacturers who were attending a conference at that time.
Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd refused to disclose more information about Khilafa Islamiya, the newest jihadist group to be established in Mindanao.
Roxas said he was briefed by the Intelligence Group (IG) but he could not disclose the details.
He added that the filing of charges against the suspected bombers does not mean that the case has been closed.
“Hindi kami nagtatapos ng aming trabaho, hindi namin kinukunsidera na nalutas ito hanggang di mahuli itong mga nasa likod ng pambobombang ito (We will not stop working, we will not consider this case solved until the people behind this bombing are arrested),” Roxas said.
Malacañang meanwhile downplayed reports that a group of young bombers had been deployed to sow terror in Luzon.
The Manila Times reported that the new recruits of the separatist Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) are now in Luzon to conduct “test mission” which involves the bombing of malls, embassies and transport terminals.
The BIFF, which broke away from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), is opposing peace talks with the government. The group has been tagged in two of three bombings that occurred in Mindanao.
Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte reiterated that a text message about attacks in certain areas in Mindanao was just a hoax.
”Just to remind everybody, the text that went around—I think this is the third time that it’s gone around—it’s the third time that it’s been called out as fake and as a hoax,” she said.
Valte assured the public that the government is on top of the situation and that security forces have taken necessary measures to prevent bomb attacks.
“I’m not at liberty to really divulge what the operations are at the moment. Again, suffice to say that the operations continue,” she said.