Suspected MILF rebs sued for illegal possession of firearms, explosives

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/01 December) – Police authorities in Sarangani province have filed charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives Tuesday against four suspected members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) who were arrested in a raid over the weekend in a remote village in Maitum town.

Insp. Elvis Angay-angay, provincial officer of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)-Sarangani, identified the suspects as Ryan Binago, Amerson Ismael, Edward Ramos and Abdul Sokor Binago alias Kumander Dido Binago.

He said the suspects, who were allegedly members of the MILF’s special operations group, were nabbed after yielding several firearms and explosives during a raid on a house in Barangay Wali in Maitum, Sarangani last Sunday morning.

The raiding team allegedly seized from the possession of the four suspects a caliber .22, M1 Garand rifle and Carbine rifles, a live mortar shell and several “accessories” that were believed to be bomb-making materials.

“Our investigation is still ongoing and we’re specifically looking at their possible involvement in previous terror-related activities in the province and the neighboring areas,” Angay-angay said.

The official said the suspects were initially charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives before the Sarangani Provincial Prosecution Office in Alabel town.

He said their initial investigation showed that the suspects were members of the 12th brigade of the MILF’s 105th base command based in the coastal town of Palimbang in Sultan Kudarat.

Angay-angay said they found out that Sokor Binago has at least five pending warrants of arrest for murder, destructive arson, arson and robbery with intimidation against a person.

He said Binago had been tagged as among those behind the string of criminal and terror-related activities, among them the daring attack at the police station and municipal hall of Maasim town in Sarangani two years ago that left two persons dead.

Binago admitted to reporters that he was a member of the MILF but he refused to answer questions regarding his pending arrest warrants and alleged involvement in the previous attacks in the area.

Ismael confirmed that he is an MILF member but vehemently denied any involvement in any of the past attacks.

He denied owning any of the seized firearms and explosives saying they were not found in their possession but allegedly from a house owned by suspect Edward Ramos.

“Their accusations were baseless. I’m innocent. I’m a member of the MILF but I don’t have any criminal record,” an emotional Ismael told reporters.

Angay-angay said Binago will be brought to Manila for further investigation and detention later this week while the three other suspects will remain in their custody pending the issuance by the court of their commitment order to the Sarangani provincial jail. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)

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