Female ‘barangay’ chief linked to Sayyaf arrested

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ZAMBOANGA CITY: Security forces have arrested a barangay (village) captain who allegedly was working for the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in the southern Philippine province of Sulu, officials said on Sunday.

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Officials said policemen, backed by soldiers, seized Fauzi Abdulla, chief of Barangay Niyog Sangahan in Talipao town, over the weekend in the town of Indanan and is being interrogated by authorities.

She was said to have coddled rebels and provided them sanctuary in her town and passed intelligence information and provisions, and most often involved herself in managing and providing leadership in important decision-making within the Abu Sayyaf, according to Army Brig. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, commander of the anti-terror Joint Task Force Sulu.

He said Abdulla was also involved in the 2015 kidnapping and murder of Canadian hostages John Ridsdel and Robert Hall in 2015.

“The arrest of Abdulla is a major blow to the leadership of the ASG. The ASG’s information network, command and decision-making will be severely affected with the arrest of a major figure inside their leadership.”

“The arrest of Abdulla is a product of intensified cooperation between the people of Sulu and our soldiers and policemen in protecting local communities from the scourge of terrorism. Our soldiers will continue to conduct combat operations to destroy the ASG and rescue the remaining hostages,” dela Vega said.

The Abu Sayyaf is still holding about a dozen Malaysian and Indonesian sailors kidnapped off Sabah in Malaysia.

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the military to finish off the Abu Sayyaf.

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