The Abu Sayyaf Group fighters who infiltrated Bohol in April were on a bombing and kidnap mission based on a probe of cellphones found in the possession of slain bandits and arrested PSupt. Ma. Cristina Nobleza who was suspected of attempting to rescue ASG men in the province.
According to PSupt. Royina Garma, chief of the Criminal Investigation Group (CIDG) 7, contents of Nobleza’s and killed extremists’ phones indicated bomb and kidnap plots in Bohol and a rescue mission for the ASG remnants who survived the clashes in Inabanga and Clarin last month.
Prior to her arrest, Nobleza was communicating with an ASG member in Bohol and discussing details of the rescue operation which was botched due to miscommunication, said Garma.
The CIDG official also attributed the rescue plan’s failure to the ASG bandit’s unfamiliarity with Bohol’s topography.
“Maswerte parin ang bohol dahil hindi natuloy ang plano ng mga Abu Sayyaf,” she said.
Garma also pointed out that before they were arrested in Clarin on April 22, Nobleza and husband Renierlo Dongon, a suspected ASG bomber, were particularly planning to rescue 17-year-old Said Santos, a bomb expert who is believed to be a royalty in Basilan.
Said is reportedly the nephew of Dongon and eldest son of a man only identified as Santos who is detained in Bicutan and facing charges for an alleged bombing.
However, Garma said that authorities have not yet confirmed whether Said is still alive or dead.
Meanwhile, a pre-recorded video of an inspirational message delivered by slain Al-Queda founder Osama Bin Laden was also found in Nobleza’s phone.
Laden was killed in Bilal Town, Abbottabad, Pakistan by United States Special Forces on May 2, 2011.
The same mobile device also contained a footage showing Syrian children groomed to be ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) combatants through firearm and hand-to-hand fight training.
There were several other conversations in the retrieved cellphones but these were written in Tausug.
The text messages will still have to be translated with the help of the Muslim Affairs Office, said Garma.
A cellphone recovered from Saad Samad Kiram who was the latest ASG bandit killed in Bohol has also been submitted to the CIDG-7 forensics team for investigation. (Allen Doydora)