By Francis Wakefield
A suspected Daesh-inspired Maute Group bomb expert was killed while a police personnel was wounded following an Inter-Agency Law Enforcement Operation (IALEO) in General Santos City on early Monday morning.
Maj. Ezra Balagtey, spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Eastern Mindanao Command (AFP-EastMinCom), identified the killed Maute Group bomber as Najib Calimba Pundug alias Najib Hussein.
He is said to be under the command of Maute leader Owaidah Maromhombsar alias Abu Dar who took part in the Marawi siege last year.
The military earlier said that when the Marawi siege began on May 23, 2017, Dar was present and was holding lots of money when he and other members of the terrorist group managed to escape from the MBA or main battle area.
Balagtey said the terrorist was killed following a joint military and police operation at Zone 3, Block 5, Barangay. Fatima, General Santos City.
In a report submitted by Col. Adonis Bajao, commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF) GenSan, the interagency group composed of personnel from JTF GenSan and Regional Mobile Force (RMF), Philippine National Police Office 12 was serving an arrest warrant issued by the Judicial Branch 11 in Malabang, Lanao del Sur (for serious detention and kidnapping) against the suspect when he resisted and fought, prompting the arresting team to fight back that led to his death.
Allegedly recovered in his possession were Glock pistol, two hand grenades, an ISIS flag and cellular phones.
A personnel from RMF was wounded during the proceeding and was rushed to an undisclosed hospital in General Santos City.
Abu Dar’s wife captured
Meanwhile, acting on an information from the community, a follow-up operation was also executed by the interagency group at about 7 a.m. of the same day, that led to the arrest of Nafisa Pundog, the wife of Abu Dar, a fugitive who escaped from the Marawi City Jail in 2016.
She is also included in the Department of National Defense (DND) Martial Law Arrest Order No. 1.
Pundug has a standing warrant for Criminal Case no. 0450-2017 for violation of Section 3 of Presidential Decree 1865 as amended by Section 1 of Republic Act 9516 (Illegal possession of blasting cap/incendiary device) at her safehouse in Purok Maunlad, Barangay. Apopong, General Santos City.