MANILA, Philippines – Two down, at least 1 more to go.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday, May 22, confirmed the death of Filipino bomb maker Abdul Basit Usman through a DNA test conducted by its own Crime Laboratory.
Usman’s death came more than 3 months after he escaped during now-controversial police operation in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao, that claimed the lives of at least 65 Filipinos, including 44 elite cops.
The confirmation was made by the PNP’s Crime Laboratory through DNA samples taken from Usman’s mother.
DNA samples of the wanted terrorist’s family members were taken after it was reported that Usman was killed during an operation led by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Guindulungan town, Maguindanao.
It was MILF fighters who took a tissue sample from Usman, which was eventually turned over to the PNP.
The United States had offered a reward of up to $1 million for the arrest and conviction of Usman, who was described as a “bomb-making expert with links to the Jemaah Islamiyah and Abu Sayyaf Group terrorist organizations.”
Usman was one of 3 targets during “Oplan Exodus,” an operation led by the PNP Special Action Force. The other targets were Malaysian bomb maker and Jemaah Islamiyah member Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwanm” and Amin Baco, who is also a Malaysian.
Marwan was killed during the Mamasapano operation, while Usman and Baco escaped. Marwan’s death was confirmed through a DNA test conducted by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.
With the death of both Marwan and Usman, the PNP earlier announced that it is now setting its sights on Baco.
Samples from mother, nephew
The PNP Crime Laboratory compared the skin tissue specimen taken from Usman with saliva samples, taken through buccal swab, from his mother Singkorya Dagkog Usman and his nephew Hairudin Balt Usman. The samples matched.
Chief Superintendent Theresa Ann Cid, director of the PNP Crime Laboratory, said in a statement that the “probability of Singkorya’s maternal relationship with Basit Usman is 99.9%.”
Test results also revealed that “Basit is paternally related to Hairudin Balt Usman,” she said.
Aside from the results of DNA tests, police investigators obtained sworn statements from two barangay officials in Guindulungan, Maguindanao. They identified Usman’s cadaver, and were able to take photos of his body using their camera phones. – Rappler.com
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