Police captured an alleged camp of an Islamic State-inspired terror group and recovered improvised explosives during an operation in South Cotabato.
Chief Superintendent Eliseo Rasco, regional police director, said the Regional Mobile Force Battalion found the abandoned encampment in Polomolok town in at about 4am yesterday (Sunday, September 23).
He said the operating team swooped on the site to serve a warrant of arrest against Joefry Tuanadatu Nilong, who is wanted for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
Police failed to catch the suspect and his alleged cohorts but instead discovered the encampment.
“They were able to escape and evade arrest before the team reached the site,” he said today.
Rasco said the team recovered two suspected improvised explosive devices, a kilogram of black powder, electrical wires, a blasting cap, cellular phones and two t-shirts printed with symbols of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
Pursuit operations are ongoing against Nilong and his cohorts, in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other law enforcement units.
Police information officer Superintendent Aldrin Gonzales said the Nilong’s was linked to the terror organisation Ansar Al-Khilafah Philippines (AKP), which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
The AKP, which originated in Sarangani Province, was reportedly a part of the local network of the Maute Group.
The group supposedly merged with the armed elements based in Polomolok after its leader, Tokboy Maguid, was killed in an encounter with joint operatives in Kiamba, Sarangani, in January last year.
Last week, operatives arrested an alleged member of the Polomolok-based group, who was later tagged as the primary suspect in a recent bomb attack in the town that left eight people wounded.
Another suspect, Jeffrey Panag Alonzo, was arrested on September 19 in a buy-bust operation in Polomolok town.
Rasco said the suspect was positively identified by witnesses as the person who planted the explosives that went off outside a pharmacy on September 16.