CEBU CITY: Bomb-making materials were found in an apartment in Bohol rented by a ranking police official and a “bomb expert” of the Abu Sayyaf group who figured in a in a suspected rescue attempt of the remnants of the bandit group that clashed with government troops in Inabanga and Clarin towns.
Chief Supt. Noli Talino, director of the Central Visayas regional office of the Philippine National Police (PNP), escorted Supt. Maria Cristina Nobleza and alleged bomb expert Renierlo “Kurdi” Dongon on a commercial flight to Manila that left Tagbilaran City in Bohol at 9:10 a.m. Tuesday.
Talino said Dongon and Nobleza, deputy chief of the crime laboratory in Davao, are considered high-risk personalities for having ties with the Abu Sayyaf.
They were to be detained at Camp Crame, the PNP headquarters.
Police said that materials used to make an improvised explosive device were recovered from their rented apartment in Looc at Bohol’s Panglao Island.
They arrived in Bohol on April 17, six days after four suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf were slain in a clash with government troops in Inabanga, Bohol. Three soldiers and a policeman were also killed in the encounter.
Nobleza was on board a black Nissan Navara pickup truck driven by Dongon when they were arrested Saturday evening, hours after government troops clashed with suspected Abu Sayyaf members in Barangay Bacani, Clarin town.
The vehicle drove past a military checkpoint, forcing the soldiers to chase and block the vehicle.
Dongon and Nobleza were later brought to the Clarin police station along with an elderly woman and a 13-year-old boy who were with the two inside the pickup.
Police recovered male underwear, t-shirts, shorts for men, medical kits, canned goods, biscuits and bottles of energy drink from the vehicle, police said.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Nobleza’s arrest would not deter President Rodrigo Duterte in fighting terrorist groups.
“The President is firm and decisive in the fight against terrorism. He has ordered government troops to carry out sustained, focused and intense operations to put an end to lawless and gruesome acts of violence,” he said in a statement.