Thursday, August 26, 2010

Police arrest suspect in failed assassination of Philippine governor

SULU, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Aug. 26, 2010) – Police have arrested one of the suspects in the failed assassination of a Philippine governor in a raid in the southern province of Sulu, officials said Thursday.

Officials said commandos raided a hideout and captured Abner Tahil alias Abs in the village of Kasangyangan in Jolo town. Tahil, who was implicated by the police in the roadside bombing which targeted Sulu Governor Sakur Tan last year in Patikul town.

Police said ten people were injured in the attack, including a town mayor, after a motorcycle rigged with explosives, was remotely detonated as Tan convoy was passing by.

Tahil was surprised by the raid and did not resist arrest, said Chief Inspector Amil Baanan, operations chief of the provincial police force. “The arrest of Tahil is part of a long intelligence operation,” Baanan said.

He said Senior Superintendent Joseph Ramac, the Sulu police chief, ordered security forces to intensify the hunt for other suspects in the bombing following the capture of Tahil in Jolo town.

Tahil is also being investigated for his role in a suicide bombing that also targeted Tan in Zamboanga City last month.

Tan was among more than two dozen people injured in the bombing outside the Zamboanga International Airport.

The bomber, Reynaldo Apilado, and Hatimil Haron, one of his cohorts, were killed in the blast. Police also implicated at least three more men – Allan Sabudin, Muamar Astali and Adong Salahuddin – in the attack after they were seen in a hotel security video in Zamboanga City together with Apilado and Haron before the bombing. The three men remain at large.

National police chief Jesus Versoza said the attack was connected to the failed assassination of Tan last year. “This is connected to the failed assassination of Governor Tan last year. We are looking into all angles and motives of the attack,” he said.

Police said blamed last year attack on Tan to the militant group Abu Sayyaf, saying, two of the bombers were captured in a firefight with police commandos and they pointed to Tan’s political foes as the mastermind in the failed assassination.

Tan said more witnesses to the latest bombing have come out in the open and implicated several people as behind the attack. “Witnesses are coming out now and telling authorities that some people are also involved in the bombing,” he said, adding, authorities are now investigating the reports.

Regional police chief Edwin Corvera said they have received information from people claiming to have knowledge or were involved in the failed assassination of Tan. He said most of the information was passed to them through a police hotline they put up after the bombing.

He said information they received allegedly tagged a defeated congressional aspirant in Sulu province as behind the airport bombing while another implicated two defeated town mayors who are known political foes of the governor, and several policemen and that a bounty was put up by the mastermind to assassinate Tan. A third politician in Sulu, who lost in the May elections, was also implicated in the bombing. (Mindanao Examiner)

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