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Abu Sayyaf bandit nabbed in Basilan

A MOST wanted Abu Sayyaf bandit was captured by agents of the Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) in his hiding place in Saluping Island in Basilan 4:30 a.m. yesterday, said a report to PNP chief, General Debold M. Sians.

PNP-AKG director, Brigadier Gen. Jonnel C. Estomo identified the arrested suspect as Munijiral Kabule alias ‘Arafat Mohammad,’ an Abu Sayyaf member wanted for kidnapping-for-ransom and gun-for-hire activities in Basilan.

Estomo said that early morning yesterday, members of the AKG Mindanao Field Unit headed by Lieutenant Colonel Clarence Gomeyac, joined by operatives from the PNP Special Action Force headed by Major Gen. Bernabe M. Balba, the Regional Intelligence Unit 9 under Brig. Gen. Edgar S. Monsalve, the Tabusan Lasa Municipal Police Station and the Philippine Coast Guard went to Saluping Island in Tabusan Lasa municipality to arrest the suspect and other known bandits in the area.

He added that the suspects are the subject of a warrant of arrest for kidnapping with serious illegal detention issued by Judge Danilo Bucoy of the Isabela City Regional Trial Court Branch 2 with no bail recommended on January 7, 2019.

“There were reports that the suspects were out to kidnap another target when they were spotted armed with high-powered firearms along the shoreline of Saluping Island,” Estomo said.

When accosted, the suspect yielded a chamber-loaded caliber .45 pistol with a magazine containing seven live ammunition, an extra magazine with seven bullets and a hand grenade.

Estomo said the suspect is a known hardcore member of an Abu Sayyaf faction in Basilan headed by Pasil Bayali.

He said that the suspects were involved in the kidnapping-for-ransom of one Hadja Sadday on October 25, 2009. The victim was released after his family paid a P100,000 ransom to the kidnappers.

The official said the suspects are known for targeting wealthy businessmen in Basilan and its nearby provinces and municipalities.

“We have information that the suspect is disguising as a construction worker in areas where their targets are living, apparently doing this to monitor the activities of their would-be-victims,” said Estomo.

The suspect is now undergoing interrogation at the AKF Mindanao Field Unit headquarters. He will be facing non- bailable charges for illegal possession of firearms and explosives,” the official said.