A suspect in the deadly September 2 Night Market bombing in Davao City which killed 14 people and injured 70 others, has eluded arrest during a raid by a combined police-military team in North Cotabato on Wednesday, September 7, the SunStar Davao daily reported.
However, while the suspect Anwar Sandigan was able to escape, the team arrested a still unidentified companion of Sandigan during the raid in a house in sitio Maulad, barangay Dungguan in M’lang, North Cotabato, in the outskirts of Liguasan Marsh.
Police led by South Cotabato Superintendent Emmanuel Peralta, backed by Army troopers, found in the house cellphones rigged with wires, a 9-volt battery, circuit board, blasting cap, two grenades, a gun with a silencer, a rod used for landmines, and bomb-making literature.
Sandigan, a graduate of the M’lang National High School, was reportedly among young radicals trained on bomb-making by Malaysian terrorist Marwan who was killed in in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last year.
The operation against Marwan, a ranking member of the Jemaah Islamiyah, the Indonesia-based Asian cell of international terrorist group al Qaeda founded by the late Osama bin Laden, cost the lives of 44 members of Special Action Force (SAF) police commandos, during firefights with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels and armed groups.
Marwan is widely known to have trained Moro militants in Mindanao in bomb-making. The unidentified young man arrested during the raid, is said to be a trainee of Sandigan.
The raid in North Cotabato followed military intelligence report that the perpetrators who carried out the attack in the Davao Night Mrket on Roxas Avenue could be militants from Central Mindanao.
The military earlier said that the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in the Night Market blast bore the signatures of explosives of the Abu Sayyaf, the kidnap-for-ransom Moro group based in Western Mindanao.
The Davao City bombing happened as the military launched an “all-out war” in Basilan and Jolo against the Abu Sayyaf on orders of President Rodrigo Duterte.