THE Philippine National Police (PNP) released on Wednesday, December 6, 2023, the photos and names of the two suspects in the explosion at the Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi City that resulted in the killing of four individuals.
In a press conference, PNP chief of the Public Information Office (PIO) Colonel Jean Fajardo identified the two suspects as Kadapi Mimbesa alias Engineer and Arsani Membisa alias Khatab or Hatab and Lapitos who are both members of the Daulah Islamiyah.
She said the two suspects were positively identified by some of the survivors of the explosion, as well as through the backtracking investigation conducted by the police with the use of the CCTV footage from the vicinity outside the MSU.
Fajardo said the two arrived and left the university on board a motorcycle.
Mimbesa was the person carrying a bag allegedly containing the explosives, a 60mm mortar improvised explosive device and a rocket propelled grenade.
“Bago nangyari ‘yung pagsabog ay nakita sila papalabas ng MSU at ‘yung mismong ‘yung isang POI (person of interest) natin ay it appears na tumawag siya gamit ‘yung cellphone niya, that might have triggered pagsabog at immediately umalis agad sila ng MSU pagkatapos gumamit ng telepono ‘yung isa mga POIs natin,” said Fajardo.
(Before the explosion happened, they were seen leaving MSU and it appears that our POI (person of interest) made a call using his cell phone, that might have triggered the explosion and they left MSU immediately after our POIs used a phone.)
She said the two were also involved in a bombing incident in a National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) facility in Lanao del Sur that resulted in the killing of a police officer.
The two suspects have a standing arrest warrant for murder.
Fajardo said investigators are highly considering that the incident was a retaliatory attack following the killing of 11 Daulah Islamiyah members, including their declared emir Abdullah Sapal, during a military offensive in Datu Hoffer Ampatuan, Maguindanao del Sur on December 1.
The PNP urged the public, especially those in Mindanao, to immediately provide them information about the whereabouts of the suspects if they have any.
Fajardo said hot pursuit operations against the suspects are ongoing. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)