ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Four kidnapping-for-ransom suspects, including a man who was in President Aquino’s list of kidnappers to be hunted down, were arrested inside a mall here, authorities said Tuesday.
Colonel Andrelino Colina, commander of the Task Force Zamboanga, said those arrested as Muktar Adik Amin alias Ogis, Nader Sadjidul Alam, Nadjal Esmula Jail, and Seyadat Amilhamja.
He told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that the suspects were among personalities, who had long been pursued by authorities due to their supposed involvement in lawlessness.
“These suspects were in the list of our order of battle,” Colina said.
Except for Amin, who hailed from Zamboanga Sibugay, the suspects were residents of this city, according to Colina.
He said authorities launched an operation after confirming information they were inside the Mindpro Citimall.
Colina said authorities could never be mistaken about the identities of the four men because “we’ve been tailing and monitoring them.”
Senior Superintendent Edwin de Ocampo, city police director, said the real target of the operation was Amin, also known as Putot Jakaria, an alleged follower of the Zamboanga peninsula-based kidnap leader waning Abdusalam.
He said Amin had long been sought by the government because of his alleged roles in clashes that saw the deaths of dozens of soldiers and policemen in 2011.
Among the incidents he was allegedly involved in were the clashes in Payao in Zamboanga Sibugay starting late September to October 2011, during which, more than a dozen soldiers and policemen died.
The heavy casualties suffered by the government prompted President Aquino to order a manhunt for members of Amin’s group and those of Abdusalam’s.
De Ocampo said Amin’s arrest was covered by warrants issued by Judge Reubin Lo Maraon of the Regional Trial Court branch in Zamboanga Sibugay.
He said Amin could post bail for some charges but the other warrants prescribed no bail for the suspect.
As to the other arrested suspects, De Ocampo said the police might have to release them soon if investigation found that they were not involved in Amin’s activities.