A FIFTH suspect in the thwarted November 28 bombing near the United States (US) Embassy in Manila was arrested last Monday, March 20, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald Dela Rosa said Tuesday.
Nasip Ibrahim was arrested around 9:15 p.m. last Monday inside his convenience store at Salaam Compound in Barangay Culiat, Quezon City, by the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Special Operations Unit.
Armed with an arrest warrant against Jamil Baja Tawil, a suspected member of Maute group facing charges of illegal possession of firearms, the QCPD team conducted the operation but the subject was not present in the area.
Instead, the police interviewed Ibrahim to find out Tawil’s whereabouts. During interview, police saw in plain view a .45 caliber pistol under a table that prompted them to conduct a search.
During the search, the raiding team recovered a KG 9mm machine pistol, an improvised explosive device (IED) placed in a black sling bag with a detonation system, a .45 calibre pistol and seven heat-sealed plastic sachets suspected to be containing methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu).
QCPD director Guillermo Eleazar said based on prior intelligence information from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Ibrahim is also a member of the Maute group, a local rebel group that has link to international terror group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis).
Four suspect were earlier arrested after the November 28, 2016 foiled bombing attack, namely: Jiaher Guinar, Rayson Kilala, Mohammad Jumao-as, and Elmer Romero.
Eleazar said Ibrahim, according to the four suspects earlier arrested, was the driver of the vehicle that transported from Mindanao to Metro Manila the materials used in making the IED for the foiled bomb attack near the US Embassy.
Eleazar added that Ibrahim also facilitated the accommodation in Park Villa in Quezon City of the group while planning the attack.
Ibrahim will be facing charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives, illegal possession of illegal drugs, and obstruction of justice for concealing a wanted person.
Meanwhile, Dela Rosa said the arrest of the Maute group members gave them the idea that the rebel group has already established presence in Metro Manila.
“This discovery leads us to believe that the Maute group has already established presence in Metro Manila. As to what extent, that is the subject of our follow-up investigations and operations,” he said.
He said it also means that the PNP has foiled another terror attack upon the arrest of Ibrahim.
“I am glad that alert operatives of the NCRPO discovered and intercepted in time an improvised explosive device being prepared by the suspects even before it can be delivered to its possible target or used elsewhere,” said Dela Rosa. (SunStar Philippines)