Daulah Islamiya terror group ‘behind’ North Cotabato bus bombing – military

This Mindanao Star passenger bus plying the Davao City-Cotabato City route is cordoned off after a bomb exploded at the rear portion inside the vehicle as it was cruising the highway at Purok Narra, San Mateo, Aleosan, North Cotabato around 8:15 a.m. Tuesday (11 January 2022). Photo from the Cotabato Provincial Police Command

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / January 17) – The military has tagged the Daulah Islamiya as allegedly responsible for the Mindanao Star bus bombing in Aleosan, North Cotabato last week that killed a five-year-old boy and injured six others.

This developed as the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6ID) confirmed killing the alleged brain of the bomb attack and his three cohorts during a manhunt operation in Carmen town, North Cotabato on Saturday, January 15.

Major General Juvymax Uy, 6ID commander and head of Joint Task Force Central, identified the slain mastermind as Norodin Hassan alias “Andot,” tagged as the “emir for military affairs” of the Daulah Islamiya – Hassan Group (DI-HG).

“The death of alias Andot and three of his cohorts only shows that justice (has been) given to the victims of the Mindanao Star bus bombing,” Uy said in a statement.

Earlier reports (not in MindaNews), citing the local police, said the bomb attack was allegedly perpetrated by the Al Khobar extortion gang.

On January 11, 2022, an improvised explosive device went off inside a Mindanao Star bus unit while plying along the national highway of Aleosan, North Cotabato from Davao City, killing a five-year-old boy and wounding six other passengers, mostly minors.

Philippine Army and Police Explosive and Ordnance Disposal Teams conducted a “sensitive site exploitation” and post blast Investigation immediately after the incident to identify the signature of the improvised explosive device and the suspects.

Military intelligence reports and information from the civilian populace helped security forces to track down the perpetrators and launched a massive manhunt operation a day after the explosion, according to Uy.  

Col. Jovencio Gonzales, 602nd Brigade commander, identified two of the slain followers of Andot as Abdonillah Hassan alias “Don” and Abdonhack Hassan alias “Abdon.” The other one remained unidentified.

Seized from the suspects were one 7.62mm M-14 rifle, one cal. 30 M-1 Garand rifle, several rounds of ammunition and magazines of different calibers, analog cellphones, solar panels, ICOM radios and other subversive documents with high intelligence value, he added.

“After we identified the perpetrators responsible for the bomb attack, we immediately launched the manhunt operation in order to prevent them from doing similar atrocities in other areas, thus preventing further loss of lives and damage to properties,” Gonzales said.

Since the last quarter of 2021, several high-ranking Daulah Islamiya (DI) personalities have been neutralized by 6ID forces: Salahuddin Hassan, emir of Daulah Islamiya – Philippines, was neutralized by government forces in Talayan, Maguindanao on October 29, 2021; alias Adsam, Sub-Leader of DI, was neutralized on December 1, 2021 in Datu Salibo, Maguindanao; and Asim Karinda alias Abu Azim, newly appointed emir of DI, was killed in an encounter with government forces on December 2, 2021 in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

“Our continuous effort to go after these terrorist groups has been unyielding. There will be no let-up and slowing down against these terrorists who continue to attack civilian populace, properties and communities,” Uy said, stressing that all these accomplishments were realized with the help of the local leaders and members of the communities.  (Ferdinandh Cabrera / MindaNews)