Authorities secure the Mindanao State University (MSU) gymnasium in Marawi City on December 2, 2023, shortly after it was turned into a bloody crime scene. The university issued a statement condemning the attack, noting how it was carried out on a campus and targeted a religious ceremony attended by students, the first in MSU history. (Provincial Government of Lanao Del Sur/REUTERS)

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) has filed criminal charges against Jafar Gamo Sultan, one of the suspects in the Mindanao State University (MSU) bombing, who was arrested on December 6.

PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said they had already opened a case against Sultan, also known as Kuro, for illegal possession of explosives and harboring a criminal.

“On December 11, we opened a case of illegal possession of explosives and harboring a criminal against Jafar Sultan, known as Kuro. We are awaiting the resolution of this,” the police officer said at a press conference on Thursday.

(On December 11th, we already registered illegal possession of explosives and opened criminal complaints against Sultan. We are just waiting for the resolution.)

Citing information he received, Fajardo revealed that Sultan's house was allegedly used by suspects Kadapi Mimbesa, alias “Engineer”, and Arsani Membisa, alias “Lapitos”, “Khatab” or “Hatab” to meet and plan the attack.

During Sultan's arrest, Fajardo said authorities were able to confiscate a grenade. The investigation also showed that the detained suspect knew about the plan and that “Engenheiro” and “Lapitos” have outstanding arrest warrants.

She added that they are also preparing to file separate criminal charges against the other two suspects at large, along with two other persons of interest.

Earlier, the PNP revealed that the suspects who remain at large are allegedly members of the Maute group under the command of Daulah Islamiyah and are also involved in previous bombing incidents.

Furthermore, the director of the police office of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Brig. General Allan Nobleza revealed that the alias “Engineer” and the alias “Lapitos” allegedly secured a safe house within the MSU compound and lived there for a while.

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