MANILA, Philippines — Three alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf’s Urban Terrorist Group, who were said to be planning a terror attack in Metro Manila, were recently arrested in Brgy. Culiat, Quezon City.
Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Director Chief Supt. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar on Friday identified the three men from Basilan as 19-year-old Abdul Gaffar Jikiri alias Abu Bakar Jikiri, 19-year-old Alim Sabtalin, and 24-year-old Sadam Jhofar.
Jikiri and Jhofar are from Lamitan City, while Sabtalin is from the town of Tuburan.
Authorities said prior to their arrest at the city’s Culiat Salaam Compound, Jikiri’s social media posts were being monitored by intelligence agents.
They found out that Jikiri posted on his Facebook account hints of his alleged plan to launch terrorist attacks in Metro Manila.
“He posted photos of high-powered firearms and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) with a caption that they would be used to kill the kaffir (non-believers) and the munafiq (Muslim apostates),” said Eleazar.
“He also posted photos of targets including a mall and a park in Manila and photos of him and other armed youth.”
Eleazar said the QCPD in coordination with the National Bureau of Investigation Counter Terrorism Division (NBI-CTD) and other law enforcement agencies, conducted a background investigation on Jikiri and found that he was indeed a member of the Abu Sayyaf’s Urban Terrorist Group under the Basilan-based ASG, which is associated with the Maute ISIS-inspired terror group.
Authorities also found out that Jikiri had left Basilan last October 9 and went to Metro Manila via Zamboanga City.
Further investigation also revealed that Sabtalin and Jhofar, who arrived in Metro Manila earlier met with Jikiri. The QCPD and NBI-CTD tracked down Sabtalin and Jhofar, which led operatives to the Salaam Compound in Brgy. Culiat, where the three suspects were arrested through the support and cooperation of the Muslim community leaders there.
Seized from Jikiri were a .45-caliber gun, an M1911 US Army pistol with 4 live ammunition, two 20 mm M-203 rifle grenades, and 6 cellular phones.
Confiscated from Sabtalim were a 9mm-pistol with 4 live ammunition and a cellular phone, while Sadam Jhofar was caught with a Colt caliber .45 M1911 pistol with 3 live ammunition.
The three underwent inquest before a Quezon City’s prosecutor and were charged with violation of Section 28 (unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition) of RA 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act and also in relation to the 15 days gun ban period for ASEAN Summit 2017.
Jikiri was also charged with violation of R.A. 9516 or the law on illegal possession of explosives.