MANILA - A leader of the terror group Rajah Solaiman Movement (RSM) has been arrested.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Jesus Verzosa on Tuesday said Dino Amor Pareja, alias Khalil Pareja, was nabbed by members of the PNP Intelligence Group and Lanao del Sur police office in Marawi City over the weekend.
In a statement, Verzosa said Pareja is “the new leader of the Rajah Solaiman Movement (RSM) a local terrorist cell with links to the Abu Sayyaf, Jemaah Islamiyah, and the al-Qaeda terrorist organizations.”
Verzosa said Pareja is wanted for “rebellion in connection with the infamous Valentine's Day bombing on February 14, 2005 in Makati City that killed three persons and injured several other innocent victims." In that incident, an Improvised Explosives Device was detonated inside a passenger bus traveling along EDSA.
Based on intelligence information, Pareja allegedly “underwent a month-long training in bomb-making in the Liguasan Marsh” sometime in October 2004 “where he was personally trained by Jemaah Al Islamiyah (JI) Leaders Umar Patek and Dulmatin.”
Verzosa also alleged that “in 2005, Pareja was a key participant in the failed bombing operation of the RSM codenamed ‘Big Bang’ that targeted key establishments in Metro Manila being frequented by foreigners, particularly Americans.”
In March 2005, Pareja reportedly “fled to Central Mindanao and joined the group of the late ASG leader, Khaddafy Janjalani and Umar Patek and Dulmatin, after police and military personnel raided the RSM ‘safe house’ at Lilac Street, Regalado Subdivision, Quezon City."
That raid, the PNP said, "resulted in the seizure of about six hundred (600) kilos of explosives and paraphernalia intended for the planned bombing operation.”
The PNP said “Pareja was the key operative in the August 2005 twin bombings in downtown Zamboanga City, that wounded 26 people.”
In November 2006, the PNP said Pareja "got instructions from the late Abu Sayyaf sub-commander Jainal Sali” and “led a group in casing bombing targets in Cebu City for an attack planned to coincide with the 12th ASEAN Summit.”
“Pareja assumed a senior leadership role in the RSM following the arrests of RSM leader Santos and RSM second-in-command Pio De Vera in October 2005. He was elected as the new 'Amir' or leader of the RSM in a meeting held in Sulu. Present in the meeting were key members of the RSM and JI Leaders, Umar Patek and Dulmatin, whom he referred to as his mentors,” Verzosa added.
Pareja was included in the US Department of Defence (DoD) Rewards List as of March 2007. A US$90,000 reward was offered for any information leading to his arrest, the PNP said.