GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/18 July) – Six family members of an alleged bomb maker of the Islamic State-inspired Maute group who was killed in a joint Army-police operation here last Monday have been charged with obstruction of justice and coddling of a fugitive.
The suspects were arrested following the dawn raid at their house in Zone 3, Block 4 in Barangay Fatima.
Chief Supt. Marcelo Morales, Region 12 police director, said they filed the complaints on Tuesday before the city prosecutor’s office.
The main target Najib Calimba Pundug alias Najib Hussein, alleged number two man of the Maute under its new leader Owaidah Abdulmajib Marohombsar alias Abu Dar, was killed in an encounter with joint operatives.
Charged were Najib’s mother Saramina Calimba Pundug, his wife Famida Macasindel and siblings Nafah Macaraya, Naica Amina Calimba Pundug, Sittie Nashibah Calimba Pundug and Mohammad Naif Calimba Pundug.
“We’re still looking into other possible charges that may be filed against them,” Morales said Wednesday.
He said these could be determined through the digital forensic examination on several laptops and cellphones that were recovered from the suspects during the operation.
The official said experts will also examine the six cellphones, a tablet computer and a laptop computer seized from Nafisah Pundug, another sister of Najib and wife of Abu Dar.
Nafisah was nabbed in a follow-up operation Monday morning in Purok Maunlad, Barangay Apopong.
“She was directly involved with the (Maute) group and actually left Lanao del Sur to escape from a number of charges filed against her,” he said without further elaborating.
Morales said security and intelligence operations are ongoing in other parts of Region 12 for the possible presence of other members of the Maute group, which had pledged support to the international terror group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
After the five-month siege of Marawi City last year, he said the group’s members were monitored to have splintered and moved to various parts of Mindanao as a strategy to avoid tracking by authorities.
But aside from Najib, he said they have not monitored any other Maute member who may have entered the city and the neighboring areas.
Col. Adonis Bajao, commanding officer of the Army-led Joint Task Force GenSan, said they are also monitoring possible new recruits in the area of the slain Maute “bomb-maker.”
Najib, who was previously based in Lanao del Sur, was staying with his family in Barangay Fatima when he was killed.
He said the slain suspect reportedly moved to the city to “reconsolidate and recruit” new members.
“He (Najib) was monitored to have visited some areas and houses while he was in GenSan,” Bajao said. (MindaNews)