North Cotabato bus bombing mastermind killed in an encounter with Army forces

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Five days after the tragic Mindanao Star Bus bombing along the national highway of Aleosan, North Cotabato, Philippine Army forces from the 6th Infantry (Kampilan) Division conducted a manhunt operation in Carmen, North Cotabato, and neutralized the mastermind of the bombing attack, as well as three other extremists on Saturday, January 15, 2022.

The mastermind was identified as a certain Norodin Hassan alias Andot, the known Emir for Military Affairs of the Daulah Islamiya Hassan Group (DI-HG), according to Major General Juvymax Uy, Commander of the Joint Task Force Central and 6th Infantry Division.

“The death of alias Andot and 3 of his cohort only shows that justice is given to the victims of the Mindanao Star Bus bombing,” Maj. Gen. Uy said.

On January 11, 2022, an improvised explosive device was detonated inside a Mindanao Star Bus unit while it was traveling along the Aleosan National Highway in North Cotabato, killing a 5-year-old child and injuring six other passengers.

To identify the signature of the IED and the suspects, Philippine Army and Police Explosive and Ordnance Disposal Teams conducted a Sensitive Site Exploitation and Post Blast Investigation shortly after the occurrence.

Furthermore, security services used intelligence reports and information from the civilians to track down the offenders and conduct a large manhunt a day after the explosion.

Col. Jovencio Gonzales, Commander of 602nd Brigade identified two of the three associates of alias Andot as Abdonillah Hassan alias Don and Abdonhack Hassan alias Abdon, while another one is yet to be identified.

Further, numerous firearms and war materials were seized from the suspects which includes one 7.62mm M14 Rifle, one cal. 30 M1 Garand Rifle, several rounds of ammunition and magazines of different calibers, analog cellphones, solar panels, ICOM radios, and other subversive documents with high intelligence value.

“After we identified the perpetrators who are responsible for the bombing attack, we immediately launched the manhunt operation in order to prevent them from doing similar atrocities in other areas thus preventing further loss of lives and damaged to properties,” Col. Gonzales added.

Since the last quarter of 2021, several high-ranking Daulah Islamiya personalities have been neutralized by 6ID forces: Salahuddin Hassan, Emir of Daulah Islamiya – Philippines was neutralized by government forces in Talayan, Maguindanao on October 29, 2021; alias Adsam, Sub-Leader of DI, was neutralized on December 1, 2021, at Datu Salibo, Maguindanao; and Asim Karinda alias Abu Azim, newly appointed Emir of DI, was killed in an encounter with government forces on December 2, 2021, at Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

“Our continuous effort to go after these terrorist groups has been unyielding. There will be no let-up and slowing down against these terrorists who continue to attack civilian populace, properties, and communities,” said Maj. Gen. Uy.

“Together let us stand against these terrorist groups. In due time we will defeat them and the people of Central Mindanao will finally realize the peace and security that they longed for,” he added.

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