SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: An Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) member involved in ransom kidnappings and seven lawless elements were arrested in separate operations in Sulu recently, a belated report that reached the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) said.
ASG member Fahar Ismael, alias Putoh Taron, was arrested at a checkpoint manned by troops of the 41st Infantry Battalion and the police in Barangay Timbangan, Indanan town on Wednesday.
Ishmael, facing a string of murder charges, is being implicated by the military in the kidnappings of Marso Salinas, an engineer, and Evelyn Chan, according to Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, WestMinCom spokesman.
Ishmael has an arrest warrant for murder as co-accused of ASG leader, Idang Susukan. He is now under custodial investigation.
Meanwhile, seven lawless elements carrying high-powered firearms were also arrested in a joint military and police operation in Lugus town on Friday.
Seized from them were rifles and various caliber firearms: three M14, two M16, and M1 Garand rifle; a .45 caliber pistol; six clips for Garand rifle; assorted magazines; 13 magazines for M16; assorted ammunition, pouches and uniforms.
Their capture and that of Ismael were not immediately made public because of ongoing operations against the Abu Sayyaf and other lawless groups.
Military and police operations continue against lawless elements in southern Philippines as part of government efforts to curb criminality and terrorism and protect the public from harm,? Petinglay said.
“Military and police operations continue against lawless elements in southern Philippines as part of government efforts to curb criminality and terrorism and protect the public from harm,” Petinglay said.
Similarly, in Sultan Kudarat, Philippine Marines backing the police provincial office served arrest and search warrants to a group of lawless elements in Kalamansig town on Thursday and arrested five suspects with assorted firearms and war materials in Barangay Ito Andong.
The target of the warrant, Tenti Taup Mangarin, listed as high-value target, however, escaped after sensing the approaching security forces.
Arrested instead were his men – Bonao Mangarin, Usop Mangarin, Mimong Agam, Osik Mangarin and Celino Ogib.
Taup is wanted for arson in connection with the burning of the heavy equipment of GEMMA construction in Kalamansig. He and his group are also reportedly engaged in piracy in the coastal municipalities of Lebak and Kalamansig.
JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL AND AL JACINTO