3 suspected Maute group members, including ‘financier,’ nabbed in Cagayan de Oro

July 5, 2017 - 12:45 PM
(Reuters file)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — Authorities arrested early Wednesday three alleged members of the Maute group and seized explosives in an apartment in Aluba, Barangay Macasandig, Cagayan de Oro City.

The raid by the Martial Law-Special Action Group on the unit rented by a certain Irene Romato Idris at Residencia Apartment was covered by a search warrant issued by Judge Dennis Alcantar, Regional Trial Court-Branch 18.

Idris, who Chief Inspector Mardy Hortillosa, Cagayan de Oro police spokesperson claimed was a financier of the Maute group, was not present during the raid.

But the raiders arrested Gazim Mantawazi Abdullah, Taher Romato, and Monaliza Solaiman Romato.

Hortillosa described Romato as a niece of Okinta Romato Maute — mother of the brothers who founded the extremist group — and, like her aunt, also a financier of the group that has continued to battle government forces in Marawi since May 23.

The police officer also claimed that, following the Maute matriarch’s capture last month, the task of overseeing bomb attacks to divert the military’s attention and allow the gunmen in Marawi to escape, had fallen to Idris.

Seized from the apartment were four M203 grenades, a blasting cap, a nine-volt battery and holder, C4                explosive, detonating cord, 19 10-watt incandescent bulbs, a jungle knife, and suspected ammonium nitrate.

The suspects were brought to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Region 10 office.