Army arrests 2 suspected kidnap gang members

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COTABATO CITY: Military authorities arrested here on separate occasions Friday and Saturday two suspected members of a kidnap-for-ransom group operating in Maguindanao.

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Arrested with firearms were Samer Ayao, 18, of Barangay Tanual, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao; and Raf Uko, 30, also of Datu Odin Sinsuat, according to Col. Noli Mapili, chief of the 5th Army Special Forces Battalion.

Tipped about Ayao’s whereabouts, Mapili said he formed a special team to track down the suspect who was nabbed while on board a van in Barangay Balabaran, Datu Odin Sinsuat town at past 7 p.m. Friday. He yielded a home-made automatic rifle.

Upon interrogation, Ayao admitted he had a companion identified as Raf Uko who was to come to Barangay Balabaran Saturday morning.

A follow-up operation by the same Army unit on Saturday resulted in the arrest of Uko, who was carrying a caliber .38 revolver, an improvised rifle and methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu.

Follow-up operations also resulted in the recovery of a van and a motorcycle used by the suspects in drug peddling.

Mapili said the suspects have been turned over to police authorities in Cotabato City for appropriate filing of charges. PNA

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