STATE forces have arrested the widow of slain Malaysian bomber Zulkifli Bin Hir, known as Marwan, a policeman and three other family members for holding explosives and guns in separate operations in Lanao del Norte, early Sunday, February 25.
Through a court order, combined elements of police, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)-Northern Mindanao and army troops raided and searched the house of Marwan's widow Juromee Dongon with aliases Tata/Saynab and Zainab Janjalani, in Poblacion, Tubod town.
Authorities also arrested Dongon's sister Lorilie Atta and husband Senior Police Officer (SPO) 4 Andy Atta.
Marwan, the leader of a militant Islamist Group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) in Southeast Asia, was killed by the Special Action Force commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in January 2015.
Seized from the suspects were fragmentation grenade, blasting caps, 9mm PNP issued pistol, ammunition and other components in making bombs.
Operatives also arrested Dongon's father Romeo alias Faisal and her other sister Norein Santos alias Neneng at Sitio Tinago, San Juan, Baroy town.
Confiscated were caliber 45 pistol, ammunition, fragmentation hand grenade M61 and several bomb-making components.
The arrest was based on search warrants for illegal possession of firearms and explosives against Marwan's widow and her father.
The five suspects and the seized evidences were brought to the CIDG-Northern Mindanao in Cagayan de Oro City.
Criminal charges against all suspects are being prepared for inquest proceedings.
Superintendent Lemuel Gonda, spokesperson of the Police Regional Office (PRO)-Northern Mindanao, said the reports that the suspects may have been involved in bombing incidents in Mindanao are being validated by the intelligence community.
"Naay report pero gi-validate pa kay intel holdings mana but sa ilang associations posible siya," Gonda said.
Chief Superintendent Timoteo Pacleb, chief of PRO-Northern Mindanao, said the relentless efforts of the joint operating personnel to combat terrorism are laudable.
"The successful operation will not be possible without the cooperation, coordination and collaboration of other government agencies and the stakeholders in the community," Pacleb said.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 26, 2018.