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Maute bomber nabbed in CdO

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By: PNA, Camcer Imam, and Francis T. Wakefield

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – An alleged bomber of the Maute Group was arrested here yesterday.

Police identified the suspect as Mohammad Noem Maute, alias “Abdul Jabid.”

Supt. Lemuel Gonda, Northern Mindanao police spokesperson, said that the suspect was nabbed in Sta. Cruz, Macasandig here by a team from the Martial Law Special Action Group composed of military and police intelligence operatives.

The suspect’s companion, identified as a certain Abdul Raman, escaped.

Gonda said that the suspects were reportedly bomb experts of the Maute Group and were listed in the arrest order issued by the Department of National Defense.

The suspect is now undergoing tactical interrogation at the police regional headquarters here.

Maute, 22, from Butig, Lanao del Sur, was presented by Chief Supt. Agripino Javier, Police Regional Office 10 director.

The suspect used a fake student identification card of the Mindanao State University with the name “Alfaiz Mamintal” to pass through checkpoints.

Police said the suspect is the cousin of Abdullah and Omarkhayam Maute, leaders of the Maute Group battling government forces in Marawi City.

Mohammad Maute was arrested by virtue of Arrest Order No. 1 issued and signed by Defense Secretary and Martial Law Administrator Delfin Lorenzana dated June 5, 2017 for violation of Article 134 or rebellion under the Revised Penal Code outside of his rented room in a house.

Javier said Mohammad Maute did not resist when approached by law enforcers. No firearms and illegal items were seized from the suspect.

Authorities have yet to determine if the owner of the house is involved with the suspect.

Javier said they have been monitoring Mohammad Maute’s movements since he came to this city about two weeks ago. The suspect also posed as an Arabic teacher.

The suspect’s whereabouts was traced after a concerned citizen alerted police on the presence of a stranger in the area.

Intelligence operatives began closing in on Mohammad Maute three days prior to his arrest after gathering enough evidence based on text messages and calls he made from at least five cellphones he owned.

He also posed as an evacuee from Marawi and mingled with the rest of the internally displaced persons.

Using facial recognition software, intelligence officers were able to verify his identity. NICA was also able to confirm the suspect’s identity, Javier added.

Mohammad Maute denied he is a bomber and member of the Maute Group.

He said he was wrongfully accused. “I am not a member of the Maute family. They just accused me as a bomber. I am not part of it. I am not a bomber.”