AUTHORITIES have arrested the alleged right hand of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) leader and bomb expert Mundi Sawadjaan in Zamboanga City, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Camilo Cascolan announced on Monday, September 28, 2020.
Hashim Saripada, also known as Ibnu Kashir Saripada, was arrested in Barangay Recodo, Zamboanga City at 6:30 a.m. Sunday, September 27, on the strength of an arrest warrant for multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder.
Cascolan said Saripada’s arrest is a big blow to Sawadjaan’s group.
“Saripada is the assistant of Mundi Sawadjaan. This will be a very very big blow on him kasi nawalan siya ng isang pinagkakatiwalaan and this one is his assistant so karamihan ng kanyang activities ngayon hindi na matutuloy because of that and he knows na mino-monitor na siya ngayon ng lahat ng intelligence at anti-terrorism units,” Cascolan said, referring to Sawadjaan.
Police and military forces are hunting Sawadjaan, who has been tagged as the brains behind the twin suicide bombing in Barangay Walled City in Jolo on August 24, 2020.
Cascolan said Saripada played a key role in the twin suicide bombing in the Jolo Cathedral in January 2019 and the bombing of a Cafgu detachment in Sitio Magkawit, Barangay Maganda in Lamitan City in July 2019.
The Jolo Cathedral bombing killed 23 people while the Lamitan bombing, which was carried out by Moroccan bomber Abu Kathir Al-Maghribi, killed 11 people.
“Investigation revealed that Saripada facilitated Al-Maghribi’s travel from Sulu to Basilan,” Cascolan said.
“Likewise, Saripada and Mundi Sawadjaan reportedly prepared the IED (improvised explosive device) detonated by an Indonesian couple at the Mount Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu on January 27, 2019,” he added.
Brigadier General Edgar Monsalve, PNP Intelligence Group chief said Saripada went into hiding on an island in Sulu following the Lamitan bombing.
Saripada was arrested by operatives of Regional Intelligence Unit in Zamboanga Peninsula and 84th Special Action Company (Seaborne) on Sunday.
“Meron pong mga kapatid natin sa community na nagbigay ng impormasyon na sighted ulit ito si Saripada sa Zamboanga kaya inuulit ko po ‘yung reminder po ng ating mahal na chief PNP na dapat tayo ay lumapit sa community ito na naman po ang isang ehemplo,” said Monsalve. (SunStar Philippines)