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Alleged bomb expert linked to pro-ISIS group killed in South Cotabato —military

A suspected bomb expert with links to an ISIS-inspired group was killed when he allegedly resisted arrest in Polomolok town in South Cotabato over the weekend, the military said Tuesday.

The suspect was identified as Ben Usman alias Tons Usman, an alleged member of Ansar Al-Khilafah Philippines (AKP) and brother of Basit Usman, a notorious bomb expert and member of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) who was killed in a military operation in Maguindanao in May 2015.

According to Lieutenant Colonel Dingdong Atilano, spokesman of the Maguindanao-based 6th Infantry Division, Ben Usman fought it out with military and police personnel who were about to serve an arrest warrant against him last Sunday.

"He resisted arrest. He fought it out with the arresting authorities. He was hit and wounded during the encounter," Atilano said.

He said Usman, who is wanted for frustrated murder, was rushed to a hospital where he was declared dead upon arrival.

Atilano said troops were able to recover a cal. 38 revolver, a grenade, an ISIS flag and a T-shirt with ISIS markings from the scene.

"The target is a bomb expert of the AKP," Atilano said. "He is an instructor on bomb-making, that's his position in the group."

AKP presently has 20 members, Atilano said. The members have scattered into cells after their leader, Mohammad Jaafar Maguid alias Tokboy, was killed during a raid in Sarangani in January 2017.

"When Tokboy was killed, they (AKP members) scattered... they went to areas where they felt safe. We are stil conducting operations against them because they still have capability [to sow terror]," said Atilano.

Atilano said the AKP is behind the bombing near a park in General Santos City in September 2018 that injured seven people. It was not clear if Usman was involved in the attack. —KBK, GMA News