CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao, March 16 -– Joint police and military operatives arrested Sunday night Ustadz Mohammad Ali Tambako and four of his men in Gen. Santos City. Tambako is allegedly the leader of the Justice for Islam Movement (JIM), a splinter group of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters. Tambako is a trusted lieutenant of BIFF founding chair Uztadz Ameril Umbra Kato.
Tambako and his men, identified as Mesharie Gayak, Datukan Sabiwang, Ali Ludisma, Ibrahim Kapina and Abusama Guiamel were on board separate tricycles when collared by joint the agents in Barangay Calumpang, Gen. Santos City. They were heading to a seaport when arrested at 9 p.m. The team seized three hand grenades and three handguns.
Tambako assumed leadership of BIFF after Kato became seriously ill. He was tagged in various crimes in North Cotabato villages last year and involved in the series of attacks against the military in Maguindanao. His name emerged as among the armed men in a clash with Police special unit in Mamasapano on January 25 when the police commandos killed suspected Malaysian bomber Zulkifli bin Hir alias “Marwan.”
Tambako allegedly obtained a master’s degree in Islamic studies from Cairo university, one Egypt’s learning institutions. While in Egypt, he met individuals who later provided funds for the BIFF. He is believed to be the one coddling “Marwan” and Filipino bomb making expert Basit Usman. (PNA/ Noel Y. Punzalan and Edwin O. Fernandez)