Sunday Jun, 13 2021 02:39:46 AM

Suspect in deadly Sultan Kudarat bomb attacks surrenders 

Mindanao Armed Conflict • 16:45 PM Wed Apr 21, 2021
John M. Unson
Bombing suspect Norton Saptula is now detained.  (Photo courtesy of PRO-BARMM

MAGUINDANAO --- A senior member of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters wanted for two deadly bombings in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat in 2018 surrendered Wednesday.

Norton Saptula, a henchman of BIFF leader Imam Karialan, voluntarily yielded to local executives and police officials after a clandestine dialogue in Ampatuan town in Maguindanao on Wednesday morning.

Saptula is wanted for two bomb attacks in 2018 in Isulan town that left six residents dead and hurt more than 60 others.

Police Brig. Gen. Eden Ugale, director of the Bangsamoro regional police, said Wednesday Saptula surrendered through the intercession of the Ampatuan local government unit, officials of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the Maguindanao provincial police.

Officials of the CIDG-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region enlisted the help of relatives of Saptula in securing his surrender through backchannel talks.

Ugale said the group that convinced Saptula to turn himself in had warrants for his arrest --- for multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder --- issued by the Regional Trial Court Branch 19 in Isulan, the capital of Sultan Kudarat province.

Local officials said Saptula belonged to a group of bomber-makers under Imam Karialan, leader of one of three factions in the BIFF and tagged as mastermind in the Isulan bombings.

The BIFF operates in the fashion of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. 

The Isulan bomb attacks were pulled off about a week after the BIFF lost 23 members in a spate of clashes in Maguindanao province with pursuing units of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division.

No fewer than 50 BIFF terrorists also returned to the fold of law in batches through the efforts of 6th ID two months before the bombings.


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