CIDG-ARMM arrests 2 suspects in Mamasapano massacre

SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao — Police arrested here Friday two persons believed to be involved in the infamous Mamasapano carnage in 2015, police said Saturday.

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (CIDG-ARMM), in a report, identified the suspects as Lakiman Kalid Dawaling and Mustapha Tatak who were apprehended at 10 a.m. Friday.

Armed with arrest warrants, CIDG-ARMM operatives backed by personnel of the Maguindanao police and 1st Mechanized Battalion went to the safehouse of the two suspects in Barangay Poblacion.

They are facing multiple murder charges in connection with the deadly Mamasapano massacre of 44 members of an elite police force out to arrest the country’s most wanted terrorist, Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan.

The two were members of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a ragtag group of gunmen who were former members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

At least 67 individuals, including 44 policemen, 18 Moro fighters and five civilians, were killed when the police unit launched Oplan Exodus aimed at arresting Marwan, who was hiding in the marshland of Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

The assault led to a day-long firefight that shocked the nation.

Marwan, a suspect in the 2002 Bali bombing in Indonesia, carried a USD5 million bounty put up by the United States for his alleged involvement in various bombings in Mindanao and in Southeast Asia.

He was known to have trained Moro bandits in bombing making and terror attacks. His Filipino lieutenant, Ahmad Akmad Usman, alias Basit Usman, escaped during the police operation.

He was later killed by MILF forces in Talayan, Maguindanao.

The CIDG said the two suspects, who denied the charges and are currently detained at the Maguindanao PNP provincial office, will be sent to Camp Bagong Diwa to face the charges against them.