Suspected JI terrorist killed in Davao
MANILA, Philippines -- A suspected member of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), an Islamic militant group active in Southeast Asia, was killed in an encounter with security forces in Davao Friday night, police said.
Senior Supt. Ronaldo Dela Rosa, director of Davao City Police, said he received an intelligence report that Malaysian Mohd Noor Fikrie Bin Abd Kahar, allegedly a JI terrorist, and his wife checked in the Sampaguita Hotel in Camus corner Quirino Streets.
The intelligence report said the two were in possession of an improvised explosive device (IED).
Dela Rosa said he immediately alerted police units and the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team to respond to the area.
He also tried to negotiate with the management of the hotel for the ejection of the two suspects from Room 204.
"Ginawa natin is ni-negotiate ko sa management ng hotel na kung pwede kausapin 'yung naka-check in, parang i-eject na lang sila, i-deny 'yung pag-check in para mapilitang lumabas," Dela Rosa told radio dzMM.
At 10:30 p.m., the two finally checked out and went to the hotel lobby.
The woman, who was wearing a traditional Muslim attire and carrying a black backpack containing the IED, was immediately accosted by Dela Rosa, while Fikrie was accosted by other police officers.
Fikrie, however, was able to get his cellphone, which was the triggering device for the IED. He said if the police arrest or shoot him, he will click the button to explode the bomb.
Dela Rosa said everyone then ran for safety while the suspects went out of the hotel embracing each other with Fikrie's right hand still holding the cellphone.
Dela Rosa then ordered the SWAT snipers to take down the suspect. The snipers, however, could not get a clear shot of Fikrie since the area was overcrowded with pedestrians and motorists.
Fikrie then got the backpack from his wife and ran towards the People's Park. The chase continued until the suspect was cornered at a restaurant where he was shot dead by the pursuing SWAT team.
Dela Rosa said, "Pumasok sa restaurant, inangat na naman ('yung cellphone). Napilitan na 'yung SWAT natin na tirahin siya, hinanapan na lang ng diskarte na makakuha ng clear shot."
He said the IED, which was made from a 60mm mortar round, was defused by authorities with a water disruptor.
Recovered from the suspect were cellphones and other explosive devices.
The suspect's wife was identified as Filipina Anabelle Nieva Lee, allegedly a member of "Balik-Islam."
She is now under police custody and is still being interrogated.
"Wala pa kaming exact information kung anong target nila, basta pumasok sila sa Davao at may target sila sa Davao," Dela Rosa said. -- Reports from Danjo Revilla, ABS-CBN News Davao and Edwin Sevidal, dzMM