By Priam Nepomuceno

NABBED. Mindanao State University bombing suspect Jafar Gamo Sultan alias “Jaf” and “Kurot” in an undated photo. Sultan was arrested by military troops in Barangay Dulay Proper in Marawi City on Wednesday (Dec. 6, 2023). (Photo courtesy of AFP)

MANILA – Military troops on Wednesday arrested one of the suspects in the weekend bombing of the Mindanao State University (MSU) gymnasium that killed four persons and injured at least 50 others.

Armed Forces of the Philippines public affairs office chief Col. Xerxes Trinidad identified the suspect as Jafar Gamo Sultan alias “Jaf” and “Kurot.”

“The suspect, who was apprehended in an operation in Barangay Dulay Proper in Marawi, is a companion of a certain Omar, the person identified by witnesses to have placed the improvised explosive device (IED) at the Dimaporo Gymnasium. Also seized by troops are two motorcycles,” he said in a statement Friday.

The suspect’s possible links to the local terrorist group Daulah Islamiyah – Maute is under investigation.

No other details were immediately available as of posting.

Trinidad said Sultan’s arrest shows the government’s commitment to capturing the perpetrators of the terrorist attack.

“It also demonstrates the AFP’s commitment to its mandate as protector of the people and the state,” he added.

Earlier, the Philippine National Police released the pictures and identities of two “persons of interest” (POIs) involved in the MSU bomb attack.

These “POIs” were identified as Kadapi Mimbesa alias “Engineer” and Arsani Membisa alias “Khatab,” “Hatab,” and “Lapitos” and members of the Daulah Islamiyah – Maute.

Investigations showed that Mimbesa was spotted carrying a bag where the bomb or IED could have been hidden.

Both have standing warrants of arrest for various crimes, such as murder.

These “POIs” were identified based on witnesses’ descriptions. (PNA)