Al-Khilafah terror group member nabbed in Sarangani

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 23 Nov) – Police operatives arrested an alleged key member of a terrorist cell operating in Sarangani Province in an operation on Wednesday in an outskirt village in Maasim town.

Senior Supt. Joseph Semillano, Sarangani police director, identified the suspect as Akbar Maguid Buyoc alias Abu Saipen, who was tagged as directly involved in several bomb attacks in the area staged by the terror group Ansar Al-Khilafah Philippines (AKP).

He said Buyoc was nabbed around 3:15 a.m. at his residence in Sitio Dampilan, Barangay Lumatil in Maasim.

Operatives recovered during a search at the suspect’s house a PRB NR 423 fragmentation grenade, he said.

The joint operation involved elements from the Sarangani Provincial Police Office’s intelligence branch, Sarangani Police Public Safety Company’s tracker unit, Maasim municipal police station and the Special Action Force’s 42nd Company.

Semillano said Buyoc was arrested based on Arrest Order No. 2 issued last June 5 by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in line with the declared martial law in the whole of Mindanao.

It directed law enforcement authorities to “arrest, take into custody and conduct/continue the investigation” of the 185 persons “for violation of Article 134 (Rebellion) of the Revised Penal Code” and any crime related to it.

The listed subjects were alleged members/supporters/spies/couriers of the Maute group, Abu Sayyaf Group, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the Maguid Group (AKP).

Number 83 in the list was named “Akbar Buyo,” which reportedly refers to the suspect.

Citing intelligence reports, Semillano said Buyoc was a close ally of alleged AKP founder Mohammad Jaafar Sabewang Maguid alias “Tokboy,” who was killed in an encounter with police operatives in January at a beach resort in Kiamba, Sarangani.

He said the suspect handled the purchase of bomb-making materials for the AKP as tasked by Maguid.

AKP, which has pledged support to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, had been blamed over a string of terror attacks in Sarangani and neighboring areas these past years.

“We’re continuously conducting intelligence monitoring for alleged regrouping activities of AKP remnants,” Semillano said in a press conference.

As a result of Buyoc’s arrest, the Police Regional Office (PRO)-12 ordered its units in the region to remain on high alert for possible retaliatory terror attacks.

Sr. Supt. Johnson Almazan, deputy regional director for operations, assured that they have enhanced their intelligence and security operations to counter such threats.

“(PRO-12) continuously performs measures like target hardening and has been working together with other law enforcement units to address these threats within our areas of responsibility,” he said in a statement. (MindaNews)