Army, PNP arrest suspect in NoCot bombings

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MAGUINDANAO PROVINCE — The joint operatives of the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police captured on June 21, the suspected mastermind of the Yellow Bus Line (YBL) bus bombing in Tulunan and the burning of another YBL bus in M’lang, in North Cotabato.

In a press statement, Brig. Gen. Roberto Capulong, Commander of 602nd Infantry Brigade, said Ali Akbar was arrested at Purok 3, Barangay East Padaton, Kidapawan City at around 5 o’clock in the morning.

Akbar is accused as the mastermind of the January 27, 2021 Bombing of YBL bus , and the burning of another YBL bus in M’lang, June 3, 2021, which killed a total of four (4) innocent civilians were captured by security forces during a joint law enforcement operation.

Capulong claimed Akbar is a bomb and improvised explosive device (IED) expert and is behind the extortion activities of the Dawlah Islamiya-Hassan Group.

“Akbar was nabbed based on the warrant of arrest issued by Branch 23, Regional Trial Court, 12th Judicial Region for double murder and multiple frustrated murder,” Capulong disclosed.

Authorities seized two (2) IEDs, one (1) blasting cap, several IED components, and an ISIS flag from the possession of Akbar.

During the January 27, 2021, incident in Tulunan town a fruit vendor was killed while three others were injured victims were injured.

On June 3, 2021, a YBL bus was burned killing three passengers and a handful were injured.

 Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, Commander of JTF Central and 6th Infantry Division, said they will continuously pursue and hunt down the remnants of the said terrorist group.

“They [DI] do not have a place in our community and with the help of the residents and local government units in Central Mindanao, we will defeat them ultimately,” MGen. Uy added.

Recently, several provinces and municipalities in Central Mindanao have declared the BIFF and Di terrorist groups as persona-non-grata, emphasizing that said groups do not belong in their communities.

Earlier on, the provincial governments of North Cotabato and Maguindanao have launched social intervention programs called DIWATA-HAVEN and AGILA-HAVEN, to encourage members of said groups to return to the folds of the law and help the government thwart and address terrorism in this part of the country.

The June 21, 2021 operations was participated by the elements from 602nd Infantry Brigade and 90th Infantry Battalion in close coordination with the 72nd Infantry Battalion, Kidapawan City Police Station, and 1st Cotabato Provincial Mobile Force Company.

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