Egyptian, 4 Filipinos held for questioning in Zamboanga City
ZAMBOANGA CITY — An Egyptian national working for a nongovernment group based in Iligan City was taken into custody by authorities on Sunday, along with his four Filipino companions.
Lt. Noriel Ramos, the acting station commander of Philippine Coast Guard here, said Mohamed Shaabab Abdelaziz was on a fastcraft awaiting for it to sail to Isabela City in Basilan when authorities decided to invite him for questioning.
Abdelazis, a native of Giza in Egypt, had presented himself as a volunteer for Uthman Bin Affan Foundation for Development, Relief, Da’wah and Education (UBAF), which is based in Iligan City, according to Ramos.
On its website, www.uthmanbinaffan.org, the group described itself as a nonprofit organization registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on May 28, 2013.
The NGO said it aimed to “unlock human potential through the power of creative collaboration (and) ….build partnerships between NGOs, governments, and individuals everywhere to work faster, leaner, and better; to find solutions that last; and to transform lives and communities from what they are today to what they can be, tomorrow.”
It listed some projects it helped build such as water systems, mosques and madaris (Arabic schools).
The group was also active in the distribution of relief goods to families displaced by the siege of Marawi City.
According to Ramos, Abdelaziz and his companions said they were heading for Maluso to buy a fishing boat.
The Egyptian, he said, told authorities he was planning to engage in a fishing business.
“Interpol and other intel counterparts are currently conducting tactical interrogation,” Ramos said.
On Jan. 22, authorities arrested 20-year old Spanish national Abdelhakim Labidi Adib, 20, at an Army checkpoint in Basilan.
Soldiers manning the checkpoint allegedly seized from Adib grenades and bomb-making equipment.
Adib’s companion, a Basilan local who was allegedly an Abu Sayyaf member, eluded arrest.
Adib had denied the charges and told government prosecutors in Manila he was in Basilan on vacation.
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