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MANILA, Philippines – A man believed to be among the “accomplices” in a deadly Marawi City blast that killed at least four people in southern Philippines was arrested by government forces, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced on Friday, December 8.
In a release, the AFP said that on December 6, or three days after the blast, soldiers from Task Force Marawi and Marawi City police arrested Jafar Gamo Sultan, aka “Jar” or “Kurot,” in the city.
Sultan is tagged as an “accomplice” in the bombing during a Mass at the Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi. His arrest was only announced two days later or on December 8.
According to the AFP, the suspect is the “companion” of a certain Omar, whom witnesses identified as the person who placed an improvised explosive device inside the Dimaporo Gymnasium.
“This development shows the seriousness of the government in capturing the perpetrators of the terrorist attack on innocent civilians and in ensuring that similar incidents will not happen again. It also demonstrates the AFP’s commitment to its mandate as protector of the people and the state,” said the AFP.
The AFP also released on Friday CCTV footage that supposedly shows “suspected terrorists involved in the bombing” and their movements inside the MSU Marawi campus on the morning of the bombing.
On Sunday, December 3, a blast ripped through the Dimaporo Gymnasium inside campus during a Mass celebrating the First Sunday of Advent, the start of the traditional four-week preparation for Christmas.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was quick to blame the explosion on “foreign terrorists.”
Security officials had earlier said they were probing possible links between the 2023 Marawi blast and the 2019 bombing of the Jolo Cathedral.
Speaking to the media on Thursday, December 7, AFP spokesperson Colonel Medel Aguilar commented on the issue of failure of intelligence as a factor in the blast.
“Titignan natin siguro kung sa kakayahan na meron talaga nacover, kasi malaki eh, malaki yung area, maraming aspeto, so yung (We should look at the capacity to cover – cause it’s a big area, a lot of things are to be considered), so failure is not because of negligence on their part but probably on their capability to cover everything by the military alone,” he said. – Rappler.com