AFP confirms Indonesian bomb expert among those killed in Sultan Kudarat clash

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao, Nov. 28 (PNA) — Military officials here on Saturday confirmed that one of the eight fatalities in Sultan Kudarat clash Thursday dawn was an Indonesian national who is said to be a bomb making expert.

Major Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, 6th Infantry Division commander, identified the Indonesian as Ibrahim Ali, alias Hudzaifa who was arrested for gun possession but was eventually freed.

He was senior member of the Mujahideen Indonesian Timur (MIT) and has been training lawless elements in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat on bomb making.

Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Salamat, 1st Marine Brigade commander, said Ali was killed in a clash with 6th Marine Battalion Landing Team Thursday in Barangay Butril, Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat in a 5:30 a.m. encounter which lasted for about four hours.

According to Salamat, the Marine forces and members of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and local police were to serve warrants of arrest for Mohammad Jaafar Sabiwang Maguid alias Commander Tokboy in Sitio Sinapingan, Barangay Butril, Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat.

While approaching the village, the armed men led by Commander Tokboy opened fire on the government forces, triggering a running gun battle.

After the encounter, eight dead bodies were found scattered in the lawless elements encampment, including the Indonesian national but Commander Tokboy was not among them. He was believed to have fled at the height of the fire fight.

At a news conference Friday, Pangilinan said that the Indonesian national was first arrested in Zamboanga City for illegal possession of firearms in 2005 but was released from detention in 2013 due to lack of merit of the case filed against him.

He said Ibrahim Ali had since been monitored to be with Commander Tokboy after his release, teaching bomb making.

Pangilinan identified the other fatalities as Abdul Halil, Tatuh Sumail and Kira Sabiwang, all resident of Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat.

Marine forces recovered one cal. 50 sniper rifle, 20 rounds of ammunition for cal. 50, an M-16 Armalite rifle, a cal. 45 pistol, bomb making materials, ATM cards, Philhealth cards and six ISIS flags.

Pangilinan said Commander Tokboy has four standing warrants of arrest and was involved in a series of atrocities and violence in the South Cotabato area since August 2008.

He was previously apprehended in 2009 by the security forces at Maasim, Sarangani Province. However, he managed to escape from Bulantay Jail, Alabel, Sarangani after seven months of imprisonment. He had been a fugitive for half a decade and was engaged in various crimes that included cattle rustling, extortion, highway robbery and murders.

Salamat said about 50 families have fled the village of Butril but the local governments and the Philippines Marines are attending to their needs. (PNA)