CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 21 Aug) – Arrest warrants are expected to be issued this Friday or Monday next week against six members of the shadowy Khilafah Islamiyah Mindanao believed to be responsible for the July 26 bombing at the Limketkai Rosario Arcade here that killed eight persons and injured 46 others.
City Prosecutor Fidel Macauyag said the panel of prosecutors overseeing the clarificatory hearing of witnesses and complainants Tuesday afternoon are expected to come out with their findings by Thursday.
“If the panel finds that there are enough evidence against the six suspects, then we expect [the warrants to] be issued on Friday or next week,” Macauyag said.
Five witnesses and two complainants – the widows of Misamis Oriental Board Member Roldan Lagbas and Cagayan de Oro resident Antonio Paredes – attended the clarificatory hearing at the City Prosecutors Office here Tuesday.
Supt. Michael John Deloso, of the Cagayan de Oro Police, said multiple murder charges were filed against Usman Hapids and the five other suspects who were identified by the witnesses.
Hapids was the only one among the six suspects who was identified by name by the witnesses and the police.
“The witnesses positively identified Hapids because they say they were just five to six feet away,” Deloso said.
Deloso said Hapids and the suspects ate dinner first at the nearby Gloria Maris Restaurant. They left the restaurant around 7 p.m., Deloso quoted the testimony of a witness.
A CCTV video provided to reporters by the police saw Hapids entering and getting out several times from Candy’s Restaurant located beside Kyla’s Bistro early in the evening.
“We think Hapids was looking where to place the bomb but Candy’s Restaurant was full of people at that time. There was no vacant table so he left,” Deloso said.
He added that Hapids, who was wearing short pants and a hat, came back an hour later and found a table at Kyla’s Bistro where he planted the bomb fashioned from an 81mm mortar shell.
Little is known about Hapids who was reportedly a close associate of Reneer Lou Dongon, alias Rolly Unting, alleged leader of Khilafah Islamiyah Mindanao.
The same source said that Dongon and Hapids, who reportedly hails from Maguindanao, were trained in bomb making by fugitive Malaysian Jemaah Islamiyah operative Zulkifli Bin Hir, also known as Marwan, who is accused of providing training for terror organizations across Southeast Asia.
Dongon and another member was arrested by the police in Marawi City last May 11 but was released by the courts, according to PNP 10 Regional Director Catalino Rodriguez.
Rodriguez said the sizable bomb making materials found in the possession of Dongon during his arrest were similar to the explosives used in the Maxandrea Hotel along J.R. Borja Street here last year.