₱6-M bounty up for Jolo blasts’ alleged mastermind, 1 other suspect

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 29)— Up to ₱6-million worth of cash reward is up for anyone who can provide information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of the suspected mastermind of the Jolo, Sulu twin blasts as well as one other suspect, according to local officials.

In a Facebook post on Saturday, Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco said authorities are looking for Abu Sayyaf Group subleader Mundi Sawadjaan, who is suspected to be the brain of the explosions that rocked the town on August 24. A ₱3-million reward will be provided to those who can help in the hunt.

Officials are offering the same cash reward for those who can help track down Indonesian national Andi Baso, who is also regarded as one of the suspects of the blasts that left at least 15 people dead.

Aside from the two, authorities are likewise hunting down another Indonesian national— Reski Fantasya aka Cici— who is said to be the wife of Baso and a suspect in the Jolo cathedral bombings in 2019. The government, however, did not specify a cash reward for her information.

According to Climaco, the reward money will be coming from the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency. She also warned the public against the three— saying they are believed to be on a mission to sow terror in the peninsula.

Authorities disclosed earlier that they are in hot pursuit of Abu Sayyaf bomb expert Sawadjaan following the explosions. A joint task force is also working for the immediate arrest of Sawadjaan.

The pursuit of the joint task force resulted in the death of two Abu Sayyaf members on Saturday at 9:45 a. m., as they reportedly encountered ASG members fleeing Patikul, Sulu. The encounter reportedly lasted for 30 minutes after the enemy withdrew to an unknown direction, according to the military. One soldier was killed while seven others were wounded.

Two Filipinos allegedly carried out the twin blasts and were the same alleged suicide bombers being tracked down by four military intelligence officers killed by police officers two months ago, Philippine Army chief Cirilito Sobejana said in a statement.

Jolo will also be placed under a temporary lockdown starting August 30, 8 a.m., until further notice, according to the Facebook page of its municipal government.

"May bibisita bukas sa site from national government," said Jolo Mayor Kherkhar Tan on the lockdown.

[Translation: Someone from the national government will visit the blast site tomorrow.]