The police regional office on Wednesday said they did not rule out the possibility that this city is being targeted by terrorists as one of the areas they will bomb following the raid of a former politician’s house that yielded components of an improvised explosive device (IED).
Superintendent Lemuel Gonda, Philippine National Police-10 (PNP-10) spokesperson, said it is very likely that both Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City are being eyed as key targets of the Islamic State-linked Maute Group, a local terrorist organization now fighting government forces in Marawi City.
The two cities are still under alert Level 3 due to the persistent reports of the presence of terrorists in the area.
This after law enforcers recovered various ammunition and other items from the house of former Marawi mayor Fajad “Pre” Salic in Purok 5, Barangay Consuelo in Magsaysay town, Misamis Oriental early Wednesday morning.
Salic was accused of an alleged accomplice of the Maute Group. He was arrested recently at a checkpoint in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental.
According to Chief Inspector Esperidion Biado, head of the Misamis Oriental Provincial Public Safety Company, the following were found inside Salic’s residence: an MK2 fragmentation grenade, two rifle grenades with canister, a 40mm cartridge, 30 rounds of 5.56 live ammunition, six metal tubes believed to be non-electric blasting cap, a customized electronic switch, a pilot valve attached to a jack connector, a 9-volt battery, and two packs of undetermined gray powder.
Biado said that the raiding team did not recover illegal drug in the Wednesday morning raid.
The search was witnessed by two barangay officials and the house caretaker. The raid was based on a search warrant issued by Judge Mirabeaus Undalok of Regional Trial Court 10 Branch 43 of Gingoog City for violation of section 28, article 5 of RA 10591 or the Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition.
Biado said some of the recovered items were part of a home-made bomb, and in fact, they found an IED that is ready to be used.
None of Salic’s family members were present during the raid, he said.
Biado said they were tipped off on Salic’s residence in Magsaysay right after his arrest in Villanueva.
He said they have been monitoring the former mayor’s residence, which also included two beach cottages, located in the village’s coastal area.
According to their intelligence report, armed men on board large vehicles were seen going in and out of Salic’s residence in the past few days.
Biado said they are also investigating the caretaker if she is in connivance of Salic. (Jigger J. Jerusalem/PNA)