Malaysian terror suspect shot dead in Davao
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A Malaysian national, suspected to be a member of the regional terror group Jemaah Islamiyah, was shot dead as he threatened to detonate an improvised explosive device when cornered by authorities here late Friday evening, the police said Saturday.
Senior Superintendent Ronald dela Rosa, city police chief, identified the slain suspect based on a Malaysian-issued passport as Mohammad Noor Fikrie Bin Abd Kahar.
Kahar’s Filipino wife, Annabel Nieva Lee, a native of Sorsogon, was also arrested and was being interrogated, dela Rosa said.
He said authorities received information about Kahar’s plan to set off an explosive in the city. Dela Rosa said when information came that the Malaysian and Lee had checked in at the Sampaguita Hotel on Camus St. Ext., authorities immediately negotiated with the hotel’s management for their arrest.
While being accosted at the lobby of the hotel around 10:30 p.m., Dela Rosa said Kahar suddenly raised his hand while holding a cell phone and declared: “If you arrest me or shoot me, I have a bomb. I will explode it.”
Dela Rosa said panic gripped the hotel’s lobby with guests and staff scampering for safety. This, he said, gave Kahar and Lee, who was carrying a black backpack, opportunity to run out of the door.
Dela Rosa said authorities chased the couple and Kahar and Lee were soon cornered in front of Toryano’s restaurant, near the crowded section of Camus St., where Apo View Hotel and People’s Park also stand.
He said Kahar was taken down by pursuing authorities for being hostile.
The suspect kept on threatening to detonate the bomb, he said.
Dela Rosa said authorities later found out that the suspect did not make an empty threat as the backpack seized from Lee indeed contained an IED, fashioned from a 60-millimeter mortar shell. It was designed to be remotely detonated, he said.
“The IED was (later) rendered safe through a water disruptor,” he said.
Asked by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, if Malaysian authorities were also hot on Kahar’s trail, dela Rosa said he had limited information.
The Indonesia-based JI had expanded its operation to most of Southeast Asia and was blamed for a series of explosions in member-states’ capitals, including Manila in the Philippines and Jakarta in Indonesia.
The Southeast Asian arm of Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network also allied itself with the Sulu-based Abu Sayyaf.
Last month, an Indonesian suspected to be JI member was also shot dead in Marawi City by authorities.
Earlier in the year, the military claimed to have killed key JI leaders Zulfikli bin Hir and Mohammad Ali during a bomb run in Sulu.
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