COMBINED agents of the Philippine National Police Intelligence Group and the Special Action Force early morning yesterday shot dead a most wanted Abu Sayyaf bandit who was also linked to other organized crime activities in Mindanao during a gunbattle in Payao, Zamboanga Sibugay, PNP chief, General Debold M Sinas said.
Sinas identified the slain suspect as Usman Hassan alias ‘Gang-Gang,’ tagged as a ‘facilitator’ of the Abu Sayyaf band headed by now detained Idang Susukan and the late Sibih Pisih in Sulu and the one believed to be leading the transport of their kidnapping victims from Zamboanga peninsula to Sulu island.
“This is part of our no let-up campaign against wanted persons in the country specifically those involved in terroristic acts,” said Sinas.
Sinas said agents of the PNP-IG headed by Colonel Warren F. de Leon and the PNP-SAF under Major Gen. Bernabe M. Balba were involved in the operation to get the suspect in Sitio Masanang, Barangay Poblacion in Payao municipality 2:45 a.m. yesterday.
The suspect is the subject of a warrant of arrest for kidnapping-for-ransom and serious illegal detention with homicide issued by Judge Ruben Bance of the San Miguel Regional Trial Court Branch 29 in Zamboanga del Sur.
Sinas said the PNP-IG and PNP-SAF operatives, assisted by members of the Police Regional Office 9 and the PRO9 Regional Mobile Group, stormed the suspect’s residence to serve the warrant of arrest issued against him.
However, the suspect who was armed with a caliber .45 pistol started shooting at the lawmen prompting them to retaliate killing him on the spot. A chamber-loaded .45 pistol was recovered from the possession of the slain suspect.
De Leon said the slain suspect turned out to be a cohort of another wanted Abu Sayyaf bandit named Omar Salikala Jain who was arrested by the PNP-IG last December 7 in Zamboanga Sibugay.
The PNP-IG director said the suspects were wanted for their involvement in the kidnapping-for-ransom of the three-year-old grandson of Pitogo, Zamboanga del Sur Mayor Richard Garban and a four-year-old son of Bgy. Poblacion Chairman Jayjay Garban on March 31, 2015. Also abducted with the two young victims was a 16-year old bakery worker/helper identified as Ledegie Tomarong.
While fleeing, the kidnappers killed one of the young victims and threw his body in the high seas of Pitogo while the other youngster was taken to Sulu where he was turned over by Hassan to Pisih and Susukan.
The young hostage was freed unharmed in Indanan, Sulu after his family paid a huge amount of ransom to the kidnappers.
The PNP-IG said the captured suspect is also believed to be connected to the Sabtal and Barahama Ali Criminal Gangs involved in kidnappings, robbery-holdup, sea piracy, extortion and illegal drug trafficking in Zamboanga Sibugay.
The suspect was also associated with the group of crime gang leader Abral Abdusalam and Ustadz Bayani Abdurahman who were recently killed in an encounter with the military in RT Lim, Zamboanga Sibugay last September.