ZAMBOANGA CITY: Security forces arrested on Tuesday an Abu Sayyaf sub-leader long wanted by authorities for murder and kidnappings the past two decades, officials said.
Insp. Dahlan Samuddin, a regional police spokesman, said Nasser Usman was nabbed by combined police and military troops in Lamitan City, Basilan.
He said Usman was tracked down by authorities in his hideout in Tandung Ahas village at about 1:15 a.m. He did not say if there were weapons or explosives seized from Usman’s hideout.
“Usman is the subject of a warrant of arrest issued for the crimes of kidnappings and serious illegal detention,” he said.
The arrest warrant was issued by Judge Danilo Bucoy of Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 2 in Isabela City for four counts of kidnapping with serious illegal detention in connection with the June 2001 Lamitan siege.
Samuddin said Usman, who heads the Abu Sayyaf’s Islamic Propagation and Indoctrination under their leader Ustadz Abdurajak Janjalani, was also involved in the 1995 siege in Zamboanga Sibugay’s capital town of Ipil and in the abduction of several teachers and students from two schools in Barangay Tumahubong in Basilan’s Sumisip town on March 20, 2000. Among the kidnap victims were Claretian priest Fr. Rhoel Gallardo and three teachers who were found dead on May 3.
Samuddin said the militant leader is being interrogated by the police as security forces continue to hunt down other members of the Abu Sayyaf which recently pledged allegiance with Sunni jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.