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Abu Sayyaf ‘armorer’ captured in Isabela

A SUSPECTED ‘armorer’ of the ISIS-inspired Abu Sayyaf Group was captured by agents of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force PNP-SAF) in an operation in Isabela City in Basilan yesterday, said PNP chief, General Debold M. Sinas.

The suspect, identified as Ranger Siason, yielded two fragmentation grenades, two 40mm ammunition, 30 rounds of 5.56 ammunition for an M-16 rifle, four kilograms of Ammonium Nitrate/Fuel Oil used to manufacture powerful explosive devices, six spent caliber .50 casings and an ISIS flag, said Sinas citing a report from PNP-SAF director, Major Gen. Bernabe M. Balba.

Sinas said members of the SAF Rapid Deployment Battalion, the SAF 5th Special Action Battalion and the Police Regional Office 9 Regional Intelligence Division as well as the Isabela City Police Station under Brigadier Gen. Jesus D. Cambay Jr. were involved in the successful counter-terrorism operation.

It turned out that the policemen raided the house of Siason in Purok 1, Barangay Aguada in Isabela City on the strength of a search warrant for illegal possession of explosives and ammunition issued by Judge Leo Jay Principe of the Isabela City Regional Trial Court Branch 1 last November 10.

Sinas said the officers recovered the grenades and powerful explosive materials as well as the ISIS flag inside the suspect’s room.

The PNP-SAF said they have information that Siason is being utilized by the Basilan-based Abu Sayyaf Group to procure and transport explosives and ammunition they need for their terror attacks in Western Mindanao.

Balba said the suspect is wanted for his involvement in an Abu Sayyaf attack in Bgy. Tubigan in Maluso, Basilan on August 21, 2017 where the extremists killed nine innocent civilians and burned dozens of houses.

The suspect and the recovered pieces of evidence were brought to the PRO9 headquarters immediately after the search.

The suspect will be facing non-bailable charges for illegal possession of explosives, said Sinas.