NBI nabs suspected bomber in Davao City

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/02 November) – Agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) arrested Monday an alleged ranking leader of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)’s special operations group who was tagged as behind the series of bomb attacks here since 2004.

Lawyer Noel Morales, NBI-Sarangani District Office chief, today said suspect Andaman Mukidin Binago alias Danny Binago was nabbed by agents of NBI Davao inside a lodging house along Cabaguio Street in Davao City Monday.

He said the suspect was immediately turned over to NBI-Sarangani due to a pending arrest warrant for multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder earlier issued by Judge Antonio Lubao of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 22 here.

“Our records showed that he (Binago) is a high-ranking leader of the MILF special operations group and the mastermind of several bomb attacks here and the neighboring areas,” he said in a radio interview.

Morales said Binago, a resident of Palimbang town in Sultan Kudarat, was tagged in the December 12, 2004 bomb attack at the meat section of the city’s central public market that killed 14 people and injured more than 30 others.

His name reportedly surfaced as among the suspects in a bomb explosion on January 10, 2007 in front of a lotto outlet along Santiago Boulevard here that left six people dead and more than 30 others wounded, he said.

Morales said they are currently looking into the possible involvement of Binago in the bomb attack in front of the Philbest Canning Corporation compound in Barangay Calumpang on January 30, 2008 and several other related incidents in the area during the last several years.

Binago was positively identified by self-confessed MILF-special operations group member Mohammad Kano alias Splinter, who was arrested earlier this year, as a ranking leader of their group, he said.

Morales said Kano tagged the suspect as a close ally of suspected bomb expert Abdulbasit Usman and MILF commander Ameril Umbra Kato.

In a brief interview with reporters, Binago admitted that he was a member of the MILF and had known Mohammad Kano for some time as they both came from Palimbang.

But he denied any involvement in the MILF’s special operations group and the series of bomb attacks being linked to it.

“I don’t understand why they were tagging me as a bomber. I’m just an ordinary farmer and I don’t know anything about those accusations,” he said in the vernacular.

Binago added that he is just an ordinary MILF member and not a ranking leader as claimed by authorities.

Earlier this month, NBI agents arrested alleged MILF-special operations group leader Fernando Gulanday in connection with the August 18, 2008 attack at the municipal police station and the public market of Maasim town in Sarangani that left two people dead.

The 27-year-old Gulanday was initially arrested for carrying a hand grenade at a checkpoint in Barangay Lomuyon in Kiamba town in Sarangani. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)