2008 Digos bus bombing suspect nabbed in Maguindanao
KORONADAL CITY—Police and military forces arrested at dawn Thursday in Maguindanao one of the suspects in the 2008 Digos City bus bombing that killed six people and wounded about 30 others.
Also arrested during the 4 a.m. raid was the village chair of Penfarm, Datu Paglas, Maguindanao.
Senior Insp. Allan Uy, chief of operations of the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PNP-CIDG-ARMM), identified the bombing suspect as Kamad Makauyag, 39, a member of the Al-Khobar extortion gang, who was named in the arrest warrant issued by the Digos City Regional Trial Court.
Also arrested was Mahal Matalam, chair of Barangay Penfarm, Datu Paglas, Maguindanao, where Makauyag had been hiding since the Metro Shuttle bus bombing at Digos City terminal.
“Matalam was arrested for possession of unlicensed firearms,” Uy said.
Makauyag, alias Madz, did not resist arrest but appeared to be puzzled why he was arrested.
“I have no idea why I was arrested. I was not involved in the bombing. I am just an ordinary farm worker,” he told reporters at the CIDG-ARMM detention cell in Cotabato City.
The Al-Khobar extortion group, composed of former Moro rebels turned bandits, was blamed for a series of bus bombings in North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato and Davao del Sur after the transport firm ignored the group’s extortion demands.
Uy said while the arresting agents were readying the warrant against Makauyag, other agents searched Matalam’s house, where high powered guns were recovered.
The firearms included a German-made .22-cal. rifle, 9mm sub-machine gun and a.40-cal. pistol with ammunition.
Uy said the obbject of the operation was Makauyag but they also searched houses nearby, where the firearms were seized.
The April 2008 bombing killed six passengers and injured 30 others after the suspects set off a powerful improvised explosive device with cut nails as shrapnel.
It was placed on an overhead bin of Metro Shuttle Bus which was heading for Malita, Davao del Sur, from Davao City and had a brief stopover at the Digos terminal.
Al-Khobar at the time was demanding a P500,000 “protection money” from the bus firm, according to then Supt. Francisco Villaroman, Region 11 police intelligence chief.
Makauyag was the third suspect arrested in connection with the bus bombing. In 2011, police in Kidapawan City arrested Nor Muhammid, 22, an alleged Al-Khobar gang member, in his residence in Barangay (village) Nuangan.
A certain Tahir Sindai, another alleged gang member, was arrested by a police special unit in Buluan, Maguindanao, in May 2014 also for his alleged involvement in the Digos bombing. RC/rga
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