Ex-Antipolo cop who claims to be trainer of Maute Group nabbed

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 23 Dec) —   Joint police and military forces arrested late Thursday afternoon in Barira, Maguindanao a former member of the Antipolo police who claimed to be a training officer of the Maute terror group in Lanao del Sur, authorities said Friday.

Former police officer Jessy Vincent Guinto Original and four others were arrested at a police and Army checkpoint in Sitio South Madalum, Barangay Nabalawag, Barira, Maguindanao.

Original, a “Balik Islam,” claimed he was a combat trainer for the Maute group since he joined it in early 2016, after serving the Antipolo police for nine years.

He said he learned about the Maute Group through the internet.

Senior Supt. Agustin Tello, Maguindanao police director, said the arrest of Original was carried out after massive intelligence gathering activities.

Original, who uses the name Abu Aisha, admitted his membership in the terrorist organization. He claimed to have participated in the Sept. 2 bombing at the night market along Roxas Avenue in Davao City that left 15 persons dead and 69 others injured.

“I was there in Roxas. We chose the place because there were many Kafir, sinful people  based on our ideology,” he said, adding he was involved  “from planning to execution.”

Oroignal said he taught the Maute group military tactics, including close quarter battle, jungle warfare and mountain military operations.

“We are waging jihad as the Quran says, that is our belief,” he said. “When I joined the group in Butig, I felt I belonged. We have the same belief … I’m not afraid to die because I’m with Allah.”

Original said that after they were driven out of Butig in Lanao del Sur, he was planning to return to Manila or go the Visayas to “lie low.”

He was arrested along with Arumpac Ibrahim Pandita, Hamsa Bagul, Musa Rasalam and Mohammad Said Jamla. They all denied membership in the Maute group.

Pandita said he was visiting a relative in Barira when arrested. They all denied they personally knew Original.

Police also seized a white Toyota Tamaraw FX (ULB-358), a gray Mitsubishi Adventure (DSL-162), Mitsubishi Montero (AEX-783), Toyota Fortuner (TDQ-440), Toyota Fortuner (TQK-892) and a Toyota Hi-Ace van without license plates.

The suspects are now detained at the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group = detention cell here.

Tello said operating troops also seized a live improvised explosive device and four hand grenades from the suspects.

Original said most of his trainees were young children. He claimed the Maute group now has about 1,000 members. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera / MindaNews)