Abu Sayyaf member nabbed in ZamboangaBy Philip C. Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Police and military operatives arrested on Thursday a suspected member of the notorious Abu Sayyaf Group in Zamboanga City, a police official said Saturday.
Police Director Samuel D. Pagdilao, Jr., Criminal Investigation and Detection Group chief, said Isnajir Sakkam, alias “Abu Fatima,” was arrested at the Zamboanga City Public Market after civilian agents tipped authorities off the suspect’s whereabouts.
“Members of the CIDG’s Community Investigative Support group and two witnesses under the witness protection program positively identified the suspect as the one under the command of ASG leader Isnilon Hapilon in Basilan” Pagdilao said.
The suspect, a resident of Rio Hondo, Zamboanga City, was arrested at around 7:30 a.m. on Thursday by members of the CIDG, Air Force intelligence, and the Philippine Center for Transnational Crime.
Sakkam, wanted for kidnapping and serious illegal detention, was among the ASG members involved in the hostage-taking incident at Golden Harvest Plantation in Barangay Tairan, Lantawan, Basilan, in June 2001, police said.
Police Senior Superintendent Edgar C. Danao, CIDG-Region IX chief, said the suspect was still “fairly young at that time” but was one of those seen carrying high-powered firearms among the ASG members.
At that time, the bandits kidnapped a 14-year-old boy and held him captive together with other hostages in the mountainous areas of Lantawan, Isabela, and Sumisip, in Basilan for four months.
Pagdilao lauded the efforts of the CIS in helping arrest Sakkam, who has been on the run from law enforcers for years.
The CIS, an anti-crime organization composed of over 15,000 members nationwide, has been assisting the CIDG in the arrest of fugitives, busting of criminal gangs and confiscating loose firearms.