Suspected Al Qaeda member nabbed in Zambales
Posted 3 years ago
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 2) — A Kenyan national suspected to be part of an international terror group was arrested by authorities in Zambales on Monday.
Cholo Abdi Abdullah was nabbed at a hotel in Iba, according to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The CIDG said Abdullah has been affiliated since 2012 with the terror group Al Qaeda. The group founded by Osama bin Laden in the late 1980s has been behind horrific attacks including the Sept. 11, 2001 assault of the World Trade Center in New York.
The PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) worked to arrest Abdullah after foreign authorities sought their help.
“For the exact detail of his involvement (with Al Qaeda), we will coordinate with our foreign counterparts. That remains to be cleared kung puwedeng i-divulge lahat ng involvement niya, because this is a series of operations being conducted by the PNP and the AFP in this part of the region, particularly in Luzon,” CIDG Director Maj. Gen. Amador Corpus told reporters on Tuesday.
A search warrant issued by Judge Emmanuel Silva of the Mariveles Bataan Regional Trial Court led to Abdullah’s arrest. He was found in violation of Republic Act No. 10591, or the Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act and Republic Act No. 9516, the law Imposing Stiffer Penalties for Certain Violations of Illegal/Unlawful Possession of Explosives.
Corpus added that intelligence reports helped authorities pin down where Abdullah was staying. It was discovered that the man was enrolled at the All Asia Aviation Academy in Pasay, but had been staying in Zambales since 2017 to complete his flight hours. He has so far completed 20 hours and is in need of another 20 hours.
Corpus, however, said they are still investigating whether his pilot training is related to carrying out terrorist acts. The police are also trying to find out if Abdullah already established links to local terror groups, and if he is plotting any attacks in the Philippines.
“So far, we have not yet monitored any plans of this suspect. But still, continuous police operations and evaluation are being conducted by intel units from the PNP and AFP,” the CIDG chief said, adding that they are still trying to establish Abdullah’s role in Al Qaeda.
A 9mm pistol, one improvised explosive device, a hand grenade, and other materials used in making bombs were seized from the suspect. Corpus believes that the Kenyan man is “knowledgeable” about making improvised bombs.
The CIDG will determine where to detain Abdullah, Corpus said, clarifying that the location will not be disclosed for security reasons.
CNN Philippines Correspondent Gerg Cahiles contributed to this report.