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Abu Sayyaf leader arrested in Zamboanga hospital


By Nonoy E. Lacson and Francis Wakefield


An Abu Sayyaf sub-group leader was arrested by operatives of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WestMinCom) and the police during a law enforcement operation at a hospital in Zamboanga City.

Army Major Filemon Tan Jr., AFP WestMinCom spokesman, identified the arrested ASG sub-leader as Hairulla Asbang alias “Ahadi” who was reportedly in the hospital for treatment of bullet wounds.

Also arrested with him was his watcher, known only as “Jaber.”

Tan said WestMinCom operatives together with elements of the Police Station 5 of the Zamboanga City Police Office, conducted a joint law enforcement operations resulting in the capture of Asbang at the Zamboanga Peninsula Medical Center in Zamboanga City.

Tan said Asbang’s arrest was made possible by virtue of a warrant of arrest for kidnapping with murder and kidnapping and serious illegal detention issued by Branch 10, 9th Judicial Region, Dipolog City and for kidnapping with homicide issued by Branch 34, 11th Judicial Region in connection with the Samal kidnapping case in Sept. 21, 2015.

Those kidnapped were foreigners Robert Hall, John Ridsdel, Kjartan Sekkingstad and a Filipina, Maritess Flor. They were kidnapped at the Ocean View Resort in Camudmud, Samal City, Davao del Sur.

Reports said Asbang was admitted at the hospital at 7:30 a.m of Dec. 26 for medical treatment of his gunshot wound, which was incurred during a previous encounter with government troops in Sulu.

Tan said the arrested ASG sub-leader is currently under tight watch by troops and PNP personnel in the hospital while undergoing custodial debriefing.

“Appropriate legal procedures are also underway,” Tan said.

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