WAS it just another case of mistaken identity when government security forces arrested the alleged sub-leader of the Abu Sayyaf (ASG) involved in the Lamitan siege of 2001?
The Philippine National Police (PNP) in Western Mindanao on Tuesday announced the arrest of Nasser Usman in Lamitan City in Basilan by combined police and military troops.
Western Mindanao Police Office spokesperson Insp. Dahlan Samuddin said Usman was tracked down by authorities at his alleged hideout in Barangay Tandung Ahas in Lamitan City.
But a reliable source from the PNP in Camp Crame said that security forces in Basilan have arrested the wrong man.
“The man they have arrested is not Nasser Usman . . . but Nazer Usman,” claimed the PNP source who requested not to be identified.
The source said that Nazer Usman is a teacher from Tandung Ahas National High School in Lamitan City.
“Hinuli hindi talaga ASG yan.. kapangalan lang yun may warrant at reward sa Order of Battle (OB) . . . kilala ko sya [The one arrested was not a member of the ASG. He has the same name as the one with a warrant and reward in the Order of Battle . . . I know him],” the source said.
“Kilala ko sya . . . dahil matagal kaming nagkasama noong nagtuturo pa ako sa mismong school [I know him because we were together for a long time when I was teaching in the school],” the source added.
The source said the man arrested in Lamitan City on Tuesday afternoon is a family man and a dedicated school teacher.
“Maling tao ang hinuli ng PNP may clearance yan galing ng Southcom [The PNP arrested the wrong man, he has a clearance from the Southcom],” the source added.
“Kung may dalawang buhay lang ako, ibibigay ko yung isa para sa taong yan [If I have two lives, I will give one for that person],” the source said.
Southcom or Southern Command is the former name of the now Western Midnanao Command (Westmincom), the source explained.
The source added that South-com had issued a clearance that certifies Nazer Usman is a different persona listed in the Warrant of Arrest issued by Judge Bucoy of the Regional Trial Court Branch 2 of Isabela City.
“There’s a clearance from Southcom that he and the one in the warrant as two different persons,’’ the source said.