By Jeffrey Damicog
Six suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group (ASG) have been arrested by the authorities in various operations in the country.
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin identified the arrested suspected ASG members as Azmier Maalum alas Totong Aling; Amar Assan alias Sonny and Abubakar; Musa Tahil Sampang alias Hadji Ramon Gonzales and Hadji Butah; Jamil Ibrahim alias Malangka Dawasa; Yong Aming alias Jamal Taib; and Majuk Tahil Amil alias Enjie and Ejemal.
Maalum, Assan, Sampang, Ibrahim, and Aming have arrest warrants for charges they are facing in court concerning the 2001 Golden Harvest kidnapping incident.
Amil also has a warrant of arrest for a court case over the 2002 Jehova’s Witness kidnapping incident in Patikul, Sulu.
Apart from the Golden Harvest kidnapping incident, Sampang was also reportedly involved in the Dr. Torres Memorial Hospital kidnapping in Lamitan, Basilan as well as several bombings in Basilan.
Maalum and Assan were arrested in Taguig City last May 16 by joint operatives of the NBI’s Counter Terrorism Division (NBI-CTD) and the Naval Intelligence and Security Group (NISG).
The NBI-CTD and the NISG acted on information that Assan has been harboring Maalum to evade arrest.
Following their arrest, Assan was charged with obstruction of justice in violation of Presidential Decree No. 1829 and two counts of falsification of public documents in violation of Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC).
The NBI later arrested Sampang last May 20 in Balanga City, Bataan based on confirmations made by Assan.
Ibrahim, Aming, and Amil were arrested by the NBI in Zamboanga City based on intelligence reports that they were hiding in the area.