TROOPS from the Philippine Army’s 602nd Infantry Brigade (IB) shot dead a fugitive bomber belonging to the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) during a firefight on Monday in Matalam, North Cotabato.
Col. Manolo Samarita, 602nd IB commander, identified the slain suspect as Mohammad Nur Hassan alias Commander Bulao and Kamarudin Sulayman, who was among 48 prisoners in Cotabato rescued by members of the Khilafah Islamiyah Movement (KIM) during a jailbreak in 2007.
Hassan had carried a P1.2-million bounty, dead or alive.
Samarita said the troops went to the hideout of Hassan at Barangay Central Malamote to serve two warrants of arrest but he resisted, sparking a brief firefight that led to his death.
Lt. Col. Markton Abo, spokesman for the 6th Infantry Division, said Hassan was wanted for his “involvement in IED [improvised explosive device]attacks.” without further elaboration.
Hassan was blamed for deadly bombings in Central Mindanao during the last three years.
The military learned about the fugitive’s whereabouts hours before the encounter through the help of an unnamed commander of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front .
A source explained that Hassan was charged for his past involvement in the Central Mindanao bombings and was also blamed for later explosions after the jailbreak in North Cotabato provincial penitentiary on February 2, 2007.
Hassan and several others were freed with the help of his alleged brother Salahuddin Hassan, a senior member of the KIM, who led the attack.
He later joined the cause of Salahuddin, who was said to be heading the group of Al Khobar in Cotabato and a faction that recently separated from the BIFF in Maguindanao.
The brothers were trained in bomb-making by a Malaysian, Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, and Abdul Basit Usman who were both killed by authorities last year.