Rebel leader in killing of SAF men falls to gov’t troops
COTABATO CITY – A joint team of police and military operatives arrested Sunday night in General Santos City a rebel leader involved in the killing of 44 police commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, on January 25, 2015.
The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) said Ustadz Mohammad Ali Tambako, leader of the United Islamic Movement for Justice (UIMJ), and five cohorts were arrested on Sunday in Barangay (village) Calumpang around 9 p.m.
The UIMJ, which some reports identify as the Justice for Islamic Movement or JIM, is a breakaway group of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
BIFF spokesperson Abu Misri Mama confirmed that Tambako had bolted the BIFF.
A military source told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that Tambako was a trusted lieutenant of BIFF founder Uztadz Ameril Umra Kato.
“He was the second highest leader of BIFF who formed his own separate group,” said the officer who asked not to be named for lack of authority to speak on the matter.
Joint elements of the CIDG, Special Action Force, General Santos police, and the military served warrants of arrest on Tambako for murder and double frustrated murder, the CIDG said in a report.
A military source identified four of the men arrested with Tambako as Ali Ludisman, Abdusama Badrudin Guiamel, Datukan Kadiwang and a certain Ibrahim. The CIDG did not provide names of Tambako’s arrested cohorts.
Reports said the UIMJ men were on board separate tricycles when accosted by authorities.
They were one their way to a seaport when served an arrest warrant issued by Regional Trial Court Judge George Jabido.
The arresting team seized three hand grenades and three handguns. They did not resist arrest.
Before bolting the BIFF, Tambako assumed its leadership after Kato became seriously ill. He was tagged in various crimes in North Cotabato villages last year and involved in the series of attacks against the military in Maguindanao.
His named emerged as among the armed men in a clash with members of the Special Action Force (SAF) in Mamasapano town where the police commandos killed suspected Malaysian bomber Zulkifli bin Hir alias “Marwan.”
Mohaqher Iqbal, peace panel chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), has said the BIFF had split into three groups: One headed by Kato, the other headed by Kagi Karialan and the third group by Tambako who reportedly has about a hundred armed followers.
Ibrahim Malang, acting spokesperson of the UIMJ, earlier said their forces participated in the clash with SAF men. Malang said he was speaking in behalf of Tambako.
Iqbal told a Senate committee investigating the Mamasapano incident that Tambako’s group joined the MILF’s 105th Base Command under Zacaria Goma, and the BIFF, under Kagui Karialan, in fighting the SAF.
Malang said Tambako left the BIFF to clear his name, after being implicated in criminal charges that BIFF members were facing for the series of attacks in North Cotabato in 2010, 2012 and 2013.
Tambako was reportedly to be flown to Manila for further interrogation, radio reports said. Julliane Love de Jesus
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