SUSPECTS LINK MILF CHIEF TO DAVAO BLASTS

DAVAO CITY - April 11, 2003. - Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chairman Hashim Salamat, spokesman Eid Kabalu and Pentagon kidnap gang head Tahir Alonto were linked to the bombing and carnage of civilians at the Davao International Airport and the Sasa wharf by five arrested suspects.

Interrogated by investigators of the Criminal Investigation Division Group (CIDG) office were Ismael Ackmad, alias "Toto;" Jovy Maguindang, alias "Fermin;" Ismael Usop Mamalantas, Ping Edor and Jimmy Balulot, alias "Jim."

They were arrested in Kabungkalan, Maguindanao and Cotabato City in raids conducted by the police and the military and brought to Davao City aboard two Huey helicopters. They are under detention at Camp Domingo Leonor.

Ackmad, said to be the leader of the five, admitted to the CIDG probers that the group bombed the passengers' waiting shed at the Davao airport last March 4 and the Sasa wharf last April 2.

He said that they were under orders of Salamat, Alonto and Kabalu to bomb the airport and the wharf.

Ackmad said that the time bomb was assembled in the house of Salamat.

The five suspects, who claimed to be members of the MILF Special Urban Terrorist Group, identified Salamat, Kabalu and Alonto as the masterminds of the Davao bombings.

During an earlier interview over Radyo Bombo Davao, Kabalu called the arrested suspects as drug pushers, insisting they are not members of the MILF.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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