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Zambo bomb suspects fall as cops check terror link

/ 05:20 AM January 01, 2015

ZAMBOANGA CITY—Police said they have arrested three suspects in Monday night’s explosion that damaged two massage parlors here.

Three people were also injured, not from the explosion, but when they jumped off the building that housed the massage parlors.

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Senior Supt. Angelito Casimiro, city police director, did not identify the arrested suspects but said two are residents of Barangay Malimbaya in Indanan, Sulu. The third one, he said, is from Tandubas in Tawi-Tawi.

Casimiro said a massage parlor employee took hold of the first suspect, who was to flee on a motorcycle and acted suspiciously.

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The first suspect was caught in the act of trying to hide under a bed a plastic bag that was believed to have been used to conceal the bomb that damaged Princess Massage Parlor and the adjacent De Luze Massage Parlor and Videoke Bar during the 8:50 p.m. explosion, he said.

Casimiro said investigators found syringes and fuel oil in the suspect’s motorcycle. While the suspect was being interrogated, according to Casimiro, his mobile phone rang and “a voice from the other end asked him (the suspect) got arrested.”

The call led to the arrest of two more suspects during an operation in Barangay Baliwasan here, said Casimiro.

Hairline difference

He said police are still trying to ascertain the affiliation of the three suspects and also to determine if Monday’s explosion is linked to the November bomb attack here, which injured K-9 handler PO2 Franklin Enid.

In the November explosion, police filed charges against Abu Sayyaf spokesperson Muammar Askali, alias Abu Rami.

Abu Rami is the same Abu Sayyaf spokesperson who was involved in the release of German hostages Viktor Stefan Okonek and Henrike Dielen in October.

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Casimiro said police are determining if the suspects are members of the Abu Sayyaf or the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), a Moro rebel group that had entered into a peace agreement with the government in 1996 but is now disgruntled over being left out in the Aquino administration’s peace effort with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“If you look at it closer, the places where they came from [are] basically dominated by MNLF,” said Casimiro.

“But in those areas there is a hairline difference between the two (Abu Sayyaf and MNLF),” he added.

The city has been on heightened alert for terror attacks following the attempt by followers of Moro leader Nur Misuari to take over parts of the city in September 2014. Julie S. Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: abu sayyaf, massage parlors, Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Nur Misuari, Zamboanga City
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