Thursday, July 30, 2009

Security forces capture bomber in southern Philippines

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / July 30, 2009) – Security forces captured Thursday a suspected bomber tagged as behind the spate of attacks in the southern Philippines, officials said.

Officials said Mohammad Jaafar Maguid was captured after soldiers and policemen raided his hideout in the village of Daliao in Sarangani’s Maasim town at around 1 p.m.

“The arrested terrorist is a member of the lawless MILF group and is reportedly the mastermind of the blast in Maasim a month ago that killed one civilian and wounded 32 others,” said Captain Rose Maria Cristina Manuel, a spokeswoman for the Army’s 10th Infantry Division.

“Maguid is also being tagged as one of those who carried out the series of bombings in Maasim, Kiamba and Maitum towns that killed several civilians and wounded many others,” she added.

She said Maguid is also facing charges of murder, arson and robbery in the province.

Manuel said troops seized from Maguid one anti-tank rocket launcher, an M79 grenade launcher, a carbine rifle and magazine, a rocket-propelled grenade, a fragmentation grenade and a pair of binoculars, including materials and black powder used for the manufacture of improvised explosive devices.

She said security forces also recovered a cell phone which could be used as detonator to trigger explosion of homemade bombs, two cell phone charges, a radio transceiver and two pieces of 9-volt batteries.

Lieutenant Colonel Edgardo de Leon, who led the raid, said Maguid was a follower of wanted MILF leader Ameril Kato, who was behind a deadly attack in the province last year.

“With his arrest, the province would have relative peace and his victims will finally get justice,” he said.

Major General Reynaldo Mapagu, a regional army commander, praised the capture of Maguid and he appealed to citizens to help authorities fight terrorism by providing intelligence about lawless elements.

“The crusade against terrorism does not end here. We must unite as one nation and fight all threats to our national development. We call on our people, Muslims, Lumads (indigenous peoples) and Christians alike to join hands in making our community a safe place to live.”

“There is no better way to fight terrorism than understanding and communicating peacefully with each other. Together, let us create an atmosphere of mutual respect and sympathy so that we may journey towards lasting peace in our country,” Mapagu said.

There was no immediate statement from the MILF, the country’s largest Muslim rebel group which is fighting the past three decades for self-determination. Manila has reopened peace talks with the MILF in an effort to end the bloody hostilities in Mindanao. (Mindanao Examiner)

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