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Philippine Police Catch Suspected Abu Sayyaf Bomb Expert

BenarNews staff
Zamboanga, Philippines
2020-06-19
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Before starting a session Philippine lawmakers offer a silent prayer to victims of a deadly car-bombing in the parliamentary complex the day before, Nov. 14, 2007.
Before starting a session Philippine lawmakers offer a silent prayer to victims of a deadly car-bombing in the parliamentary complex the day before, Nov. 14, 2007.
Reuters

Updated at 8:06 a.m. ET on 2020-06-20

An alleged Abu Sayyaf bomb expert involved in an audacious attack at the House of Representatives that killed seven people in 2007, including a congressman, has been arrested in a raid in the southern Philippines, police said Friday.

The suspect, identified as Kahar Indama (also known as Khang), is a relative of Furuji Indama, the Abu Sayyaf’s leader on Basilan Island, regional police chief Brig. Gen. Jesus Cambay Jr. said.

Backed by troops from a marine battalion, the police captured Indama late Thursday while raiding his safehouse in Sangali, a village located just a few meters from a local police station in Zamboanga city, officials said.

“Kahar Indama is an ASG member and cousin of Basilan-based ASG leader Furuji Indama,” Cambay said in a statement, referring to the Abu Sayyaf Group.

Recovered from Khang were an improvised explosive device attached to a mobile phone, a blasting cap, a detonating cord, two plastic bottles loaded with marbles and nails, and a .38-caliber revolver loaded with three bullets, Cambay said.

Kahar Indama played a key role in the car-bomb attack on the House of Representatives that killed Congressman Wahab Akbar, who was a lawmaker from Basilan, on Nov. 13, 2007. His driver and a congressional aide were also killed, along with four other congressional employees. Two other lawmakers were wounded in the bombing at the parliamentary complex in Quezon City, near Manila.

The arrested suspect was also allegedly involved in an ambush of Special Forces troops that left eight government soldiers dead in 2007, officials said.

Akbar was a former militant who had fought alongside Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani, a charismatic Muslim fighter who founded the Abu Sayyaf in the 1990s.

Janjalani was killed in 1998, and the Abu Sayyaf subsequently transformed into a group of extremists under the command of his brother that specialized in kidnappings, bombings and beheadings.

The ASG targeted foreigners and, in the early 2000s, burst onto the world stage after they abducted 21 European and Asian holiday makers who they later ransomed off for millions of dollars.

The Abu Sayyaf leaders then were killed one after the other, although they have been replaced by younger militants over the years.

Furuji Indama, meanwhile, is a close associate of the late Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon.

Hapilon was designated the chief of the Islamic State branch in the region and led a five-month siege of the southern Marawi city by pro-IS militants in 2017. He was killed there in October of that year, at the end of a devastating battle with government forces.

This report has been updated to clarify information about how many people were killed in the 2007 bombing.

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