Maute bomb expert killed, six other suspects arrested

AN ALLEGED bomber of the Maute terrorist group was killed in an inter-agency law enforcement operation early Monday morning in Barangay Fatima, General Santos City.

Major Ezra Balagtey, spokesperson of the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) identified the suspect as Najib Calimba Pundog alias Najib Hussein, a bomb expert of the terrorist group.

Joint Task Force (JTF) GenSan commander Col. Adonis Bajao, in a report, said the Inter-Agency Group, composed of personnel from JTF GenSan, Regional Mobile Force (RMF), Philippine National Police Office 12, served a warrant of arrest issued by the Regional Trial Court Branch 11 in Malabang, Lanao del Sur for serious detention and kidnapping against the suspect.

However, Najib resisted and shot one of the law enforcers, prompting the arresting team to shoot back that led to his death at around 2:15 a.m. at Zone 3, Block 5, Brgy. Fatima.

Recovered in his possession were a Glock pistol and a hand grenade.

Meanwhile, PO3 Feo, the personnel from RMF who was wounded during the operation, was rushed to an undisclosed hospital in General Santos City.

Acting on information from the community, a follow-up operation was also executed by the group at about 7 a.m. that day that led to the arrest of fugitive Nafisa Pundog, the wife of Abu Dar, a senior Maute leader who recruited fighters in the Battle of Marawi, at her safe house in Purok Maunlad, Brgy. Apopong, General Santos City.

Nafisa, who escaped from the Marawi City Jail in 2016, has a warrant for illegal possession of blasting cap/incendiary device.

Nafisa’s brother, Mohamad Naif Pundug, 23, will also be charged for illegal possession of explosives after the arresting team found in his possession one fragmentation hand grenade.

Likewise, four women, including a sexagenarian, were arrested and were charged for violation of PD 1829 (Obstruction of Justice) after they prevented the arrest of Nafisa.

They were identified as Naica Amina Calimba Pundug, 22; Famida Amer Macasindel, 29; Nafah Pundug Macaraya, 35; Sittie Nashibah Calimba Pundug, 37; and Saramina Calimba Pundug, 60.

The six suspects, currently undergoing medical examination and subsequently, will be brought back to the Police Station 7 of General Santos City for further legal procedures and processing.

Lt. General Benjamin Madrigal Jr., the commander of Eastern Mindanao Command, expressed his appreciation to the joint effort among the law enforcement agencies and the local communities and further asked their continuous support in order to prevent any possible atrocities by the terrorists in General Santos City and nearby areas.

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