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Suspect in Lamitan, Zamboanga bombings fall

/ 06:05 PM July 24, 2019

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Zamboanga del Sur –– A man suspected to be behind past explosions in Lamitan City, Basilan, and this city was arrested on Wednesday morning, July 24, in Naga, Zamboanga Sibugay.

Army Brigadier General Bagnus Gaerlan, 102nd Brigade commander, identified the arrested suspect as Isnaji Hasim, 29, an Abu Sayyaf member.

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He is believed to be among those who planned and executed the July 31, 2018 car bombing in Lamitan and January 23, 2015, Guiwan bus terminal explosion in Zamboanga City.

A native of Barangay Muti here, Hasim was thought to have made himself scarce following intense military hunt against the bandit group. He stayed in his wife’s hometown.

Civilians tipped the military of his whereabouts, according to Gaerlan, indicating that “the locals denounce the presence of terrorist groups in their communities.”

Army Lt. Col. Don Templonuevo, 44th Infantry Battalion commander, said Hasim was arrested in a joint operation at Barangay Bangkaw-Bangkaw, Naga town around 9 a.m. Wednesday.

During the operation, troops recovered in Hasim’s house a caliber.30 rifle, a grenade, improvised explosives, blasting caps, and other paraphernalia for bomb-making.

Templonuevo described Hasim as “one of the trusted men” of Basilan-based Abu Sayyaf leader Furuji Indama.

Hasim’s involvement in the two past explosions came from former Abu Sayyaf bandits, who voluntarily surrendered to the government, Templonuevo revealed.

“He is also a close associate of Hashim Saripa, one of those responsible in bombing a military checkpoint in Lamitan City, Basilan on July 31 last year,” Templonuevo added.

The Lamitan bombing killed 10 people and wounded nine others. The military has eyed a Moroccan national as the suicide bomber.

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The blast at the bus terminal in Barangay Guiwan, Zamboanga City left two dead and 52 wounded.

Hasim has been on the police and military’s watch list, said Major Arvin Encinas, spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command. /lzb

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TAGS: arrest, Basilan, Bombings, Lamitan, Local news, Philippine news updates, Zamboanga City
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