WATCH | Maute group may have established presence in Metro Manila - PNP
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MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE 2 - 9:09 p.m.) The Maute terror group has apparently established its presence in Metro Manila, police said Tuesday following the arrest of an alleged member of the Lanao del Sur-based extremist band, which has declared allegiance to the Islamic State.
“I don’t want to sound alarmist but prudence … is the better part of valor,” Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa said at a press briefing where he presented Nasip Ibrahim, 35, of the Salam Muslim Compound in Barangay Culiat, Quezon City from whose store police seized on Monday night weapons, a mortar shell and other components allegedly intended to craft an improvised explosive device.
The guns and mortar shell seized by authorities. (photo by Gary de Leon, News5)
Dela Rosa urged the public to “remain calm, yet alert, to the presence of threat groups.”
National Capital Region police director Oscar Albayalde said the 60-millimeter mortar shell seized from the store was supposed to have been used to manufacture a bomb to be detonated during the Traslacion, the annual procession of the Black Nazarene, which draws millions of devotee, or the Miss Universe contest held in Metro Manila. Both plots were aborted when police caught wind of them.
The police officials also said Ibrahim, who has been living in Metro Manila since 1992, was the driver of the vehicle in the botched attempt to explode a bomb late last year that led to the explosive device being dumped in a trash bin near the US embassy in Manila, where it was discovered and safely detonated by authorities. Four suspects, all said to be members of the Maute group, were eventually arrested and charged.
Nasir Ibrahim's mug shot (photo by Gary de Leon, News5)
The “discovery leads us to believe the Maute (group has) established a presence in Metro Manila,” Dela Rosa said.
Quezon City police had raided Ibrahim’s store to serve a warrant of arrest for illegal possession of firearms on Jamil Baja Tawil, said to be a member of the Maute group who had been hiding out there.
Tawil was, however, not around during the raid.
While officers were questioning Ibrahim and his wife, they noticed a .45 caliber pistol on a table.
Quezon City police director Chief Superintenent Guillermo Eleazar said in all they seized two .45 caliber pistols, a KG9 submachinegun, a 60-millimeter mortar shell, and seven sachets of crystal meth or shabu.
Police also named one of the Maute group's alleged leaders as Yusoy Makoto, who they described as an imam, or religious leader of the Tejeros mosque in Tanza, Cavite. Makoto supposedly issues orders to attack chosen targets.
Click and watch the video report of News5's Gary de Leon below: