PNP nabs 5th suspect linked to US Embassy bombing plot
The Philippine National Police said it had arrested a fifth suspected member of a Maute terrorist cell who was behind a plot to detonate a bomb near the US Embassy on Nov. 28 last year.
PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa on Tuesday presented Nasip S. Ibrahim, 35, who allegedly drove all the way from Mindanao to transport the improvised explosive device (IED) that was planted about 200 meters from the embassy on Roxas Boulevard but failed to explode.
Ibrahim allegedly sheltered other members of the Maute group at his home in Barangay Culiat, where policemen recovered a 60 mm mortar shell “with a detonating device” in a raid Monday night. This second IED was supposedly intended to disrupt either the Black Nazarene procession or the Miss Universe coronation day in January.
“This discovery leads us to believe that the Maute group has already established a presence here in Metro Manila,” Dela Rosa said in a press conference in Camp Crame. “I do not want to sound alarmist or cause panic, but prudence, it has been said, is the better part of valor. I therefore, urge our people to remain calm yet alert and vigilant to the presence of threat groups in our midst.”
“We have arrested four suspects and it turns out (Nasip Ibrahim) is their main contact here. He provided them with a safe haven because he’s been living in Culiat since 1992,” said the chief of National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), director Oscar Albayalde.
Apart from the mortar shell, two .45-caliber pistols, a KG 9 mm machine pistol, and seven sachets of “shabu” were recovered from Ibrahim’s home at 31-A Libyan Street, Salaam Compound.
“He’s one of the suspects (in the attempt to bomb the US Embassy). Allegedly he’s the driver of the (Toyota) Revo that was used to transport the IED from Mindanao to Metro Manila through Ro-Ro (roll-on/roll-off ships),” Albayalde said of Ibrahim, who hails from Marawi City.
On Nov. 28 last year, the police said an IED planted near the embassy failed to explode and was found in a trash bin by a street sweeper.
Three days before the bombing attempt, Ibrahim allegedly met with three of the plotters near SM Marilao and housed them at Park Villa on Quezon Avenue, Quezon City, Albayalde said.
The PNP said the mastermind of the plot, an imam named Yusof Macoto, who was last known to be preaching at the Tejeros Mosque in Tanza, Cavite. Macoto allegedly has a deputy named Isnadie Ibrahim, Nasip’s uncle.
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