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MARAWI, Philippines – The Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission (BHRC) on Monday, December 11, questioned the arrest of one of the suspects in the December 3 bombing at the state-run Mindanao State University (MSU) that left four Catholic mass-goers killed and six dozen others injured.
Lawyer Nasifah Langlang, BHRC-Lanao del Sur director, said the 25-year-old Jafar Gamo Sultan was not on the list of suspects identified earlier by the police and the Army.
“If Sultan is not on the list, then why would the police and Army arrest him?” Langlang said.
He noted that the family of Sultan was one of those adversely affected during the 2017 Marawi siege; they are now living at the Hijra Shelter in Barangay Dulay in Marawi City.
Colonel Robert Daculan, Lanao del Sur police director, said a case for aiding a known terrorist, a violation of the Terrorism Act of 2020, has been filed against Sultan before the Marawi City Prosecutor’s Office on Monday afternoon.
Daculan said a separate case of illegal possession of explosives has been filed against Sultan. He alleged that a small bag with traces of explosives was found in the suspect’s possession.
Daculan said Sultan is one of three John Does on the list of suspects. He did not elaborate further.
Sultan’s elder sister Azisah told local broadcaster Radyo Pilipinas in Marawi that Jafar was at the Amai Pakpak Medical Center preparing for a blood transfusion for a relative when authorities pounced on him.
Langlang said the family of Sultan has no plans of filing counter-charges against the police and Army for the “wrongful arrest.”
“We have interviewed Sultan at the PNP headquarters, and he told us he was not tortured,” Langlang said.
She said all that Sultan and his family want is for the Army and police to release him as soon as possible.
Army spokesperson Colonel Xerxes Trinidad said a police and Army team arrested Sultan, alias Jaf and Kurot, in Barangay Dulay in Marawi City on Friday.
Trinidad said Sultan was identified as the companion of a certain Omar, who witnesses alleged was the man who placed the bomb under a plastic chair during the Mass at the Dimaporo Gymnasium inside the MSU campus.
A military official who participated in the arrest said Sultan was one of three persons who acted as lookouts for Omar to get inside the gymnasium.
Police earlier identified Kadapi Mimbesa, also known as “Engineer,” and Arsani Mimbesa, alias Khatab, Hatab, and Lapitos as “persons of interest.” – Rappler.com