GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- Police operatives arrested here on Wednesday night a suspected member of an Islamic State-inspired local terrorist cell and in effect, foiled an alleged bombing plot in the area.
Chief Supt. Eliseo Tam Rasco, regional director of the Police Regional Office-12, said Thursday that suspect Jamio Sala, alias “Jamiung” and “Jum Jum”, was nabbed in a joint law enforcement operation at round 7:30 p.m. Wednesday along Osmeña Street in Barangay Dadiangas East here.
The operating team was composed of elements from the Philippine National Police Intelligence Group's Counter Terrorism Division and Regional Intelligence Unit (RIU)-12, Regional Intelligence Division-12 and the city police's intelligence branch.
Rasco said the suspect was arrested by virtue of Martial Law Arrest Order No. 2 issued by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in June last year.
He said the suspect, who yielded a fragmentation grenade, was reportedly a close associate of commander Salahudin Hassan of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
Hassan was among the BIFF leaders and members who were charged over the bomb attacks in Isulan town, Sultan Kudarat last Aug. 28 and Sept. 2 that killed five people and injured more than 40 others.
"He (Sala) was tasked to lead a team that will conduct bombing operations in the city during the Yuletide season," the police official said.
Citing a report from RIU-12 head, Supt. Christopher Bermudez, Rasco said Sala was a member of the defunct Ansar Al-Khilafa Philippines (AKP) terror group and had been involved in a string of terror attacks in the area since 2008.
He said the suspect was among the former henchmen of the late AKP leader Mohammad Jaafar Maguid, alias commander “Tokboy”, who was slain in an encounter with police operatives in Kiamba, Sarangani Province in January 2017.
Sala was among the AKP members charged over the daring August 2008 raid on the municipal hall of Maasim, Sarangani.
He was also tagged as involved in the April 26, 2010 roadside bombing in Malapatan town that targeted the convoy of then Sarangani Gov. Miguel Rene Dominguez, and the Sept. 16, 2014 blast in front of the city hall here.
He is also among the suspects in the grenade attack near the Maasim police station on June 20, 2016, which killed a police officer and injured several others.
He reportedly took part in the foiled bombing on Dec. 16, 2016 during the Christmas tree lighting at the municipal plaza of Kiamba. (PNA)