In two separate operations, Philippine government forces arrested four IS-linked terrorists, with three allegedly involved in the Marawi siege in 2017.
On Tuesday, a suspect identified as Jomar Maan, 23, was arrested after police stormed his home in the village of Bawing in the southern city of General Santos. Police seized “an improvised explosive device, a rifle grenade, a .38 revolver and an ISIS flag” from the suspect, said city police chief Col. Alden Lagradante, who identified the suspect as a bomber for the local group Ansar Khilafa Philippines (AKP).
According to security analysts, AKP has been involved in IS-style beheadings and in arms transfers to militants in Indonesia, and a bomb attack that injured eight people in General Santos last year.
On Thursday, three suspects who allegedly joined members of the Maute band, a pro-Islamic State group, in the takeover of southern Marawi city by militants two years ago, were also arrested.
Brig. Gen. Romeo Brawner, commander of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade identified the suspects as Janla Tangolo, 20; Arapat Tangolo, 22; and Kamarudin Sultan, 20. He said troops seized three rifles, a revolver, ammunition, backpacks, militant paraphernalia, as well as identification cards from the suspects.
The five-month Marawi siege orchestrated by Maute group killed 1,200 people and displaced 100,000 residents. Catholic priest and church workers were at one point kidnapped and forced to work for the militants.