Five days after the tragic Mindanao Star Bus bombing along the national highway of Aleosan, North Cotabato, Philippine Army forces belonging to the 6th Infantry (Kampilan) Division neutralized the mastermind of the bombing attack along with three other extremists during a manhunt operation in Carmen, North Cotabato on January 15, 2022.
Major General Juvymax Uy, Commander of the Joint Task Force Central and 6th Infantry Division, identified the mastermind as a certain Norodin Hassan alias Andot, the known Emir for Military Affairs of the Daulah Islamiya Hassan Group (DI-HG). “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.
It can be recalled that on January 11, 2022, an improvised explosive device was set off inside a Mindanao Star Bus unit while plying along the national highway of Aleosan, North Cotabato, killing a 5-year-old child and wounding six (6) other passengers.
Philippine Army and Police Explosive and Ordnance Disposal Teams conducted a Sensitive Site Exploitation and Post Blast Investigation immediately after the incident to identify the signature of the IED and the suspects. Further, intelligence reports and information from the civilian populace helped security forces to track down the perpetrators and launched a massive manhunt operation a day after the explosion.
Col. Jovencio Gonzales, Commander of 602nd Brigade identified two (2) of the three (3) 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 (1) 7.62mm M14 Rifle, one (1) 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,” stressed Maj. Gen. Uy highlighting that all these accomplishments were realized with the help of the local leaders and members of the communities.
“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,” Maj. Gen. Uy added.