POLICE commandos on Tuesday evening raided the hideout of the suspects in the deadly Jolo Cathedral bombing and shot dead a cohort of the terror bombers following a shootout, officials said.
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Police Regional Office director Chief Superintendent Graciano J. Mijares said the suspect identified as 62-year-old Ommal A. Yusop exchanged fire with troopers who stormed their hiding place in Kalimayan Village in Barangay Latih, Patikul, Sulu at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The official said that the main targets of the operation identified as one alias “Kamah” and an unidentified cohort managed to escape on foot. The two were tagged as main suspects in the Mount Carmel Cathedral bombing in Jolo, Sulu which killed 21 persons and wounded more than 100 others last Sunday morning.
Mijares said that Yusop drew a concealed firearm after seeing the officers and fired shots at the lawmen who retaliated, killing him instantly. The slain suspect yielded a caliber .45 pistol with serial JP3277290 and a magazine containing five live ammunition.
Two men who were tagged by the military as persons of interest in the Jolo cathedral bombing surrendered to the local police yesterday morning to deny any involvement in the attack that killed 21 persons and wounded over 100 others.
The two—one of them identified as Kamah who is said to be a brother of slain Abu Sayyaf sub-group leader Surakah Ingog — are now undergoing questioning by the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
Both claimed innocence in the bomb attacks and said that they were in the cathedral area to do their regular marketing chores.
Kamah has been identified as a brother of Surakah Ingog, a slain Abu Sayyaf sub-group leader who joined the Ajang-Ajang Group which gained notoriety for its involvement in kidnapping and extortion activities in Mindanao.
Kamah is believed to have detonated the powerful improvised explosive device they planted inside the Jolo cathedral.
Meanwhile the Armed Forces, on orders of President Duterte shelled known Abu Sayaf lairs in Patikul. Air Force MG-520 helicopters also bombarded Abu Sayyaf targets in the same area.
As of yesterday morning, Philippine National Police spokesman, Senior Superintendent Bernard M. Banac said that the death toll as a result of the Jolo bombing has risen to 21, broken down into six Armed Forces personnel, one member of the Philippine Coast Guard and 14 civilians.
Banac said that 21 injured victims have already been transferred to a Zamboanga City hospital while 11 soldiers were still undergoing treatment at the Joint Task Force Sulu Trauma Hospital.
The other victims of the explosion have been discharged after undergoing hospital treatment.
On Tuesday, AFP investigators said they are looking for four teenagers who are believed to have carried out the deadly bomb attack at the Jolo Cathedral.
The images of the four young men were released by the AFP Western Mindanao Command thru video-grab of the CCTV footages in and around the bombed site.