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Man arrested anew for alleged terrorism

/ 06:47 PM November 30, 2011

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—A passenger motorcycle driver arrested and released in 2009 due to the police’s failure to link him to the 2002 explosion in Barangay Malagutay here that wounded an American soldier, has been taken into custody anew.

This time, he is accused of being an Abu Sayyaf member and of involvement in other past bomb explosions here, including the 2002 blasts at two malls that killed seven persons and wounded dozens of others.

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Chief Supt. Felicisimo Khu, head of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations in Western Mindanao, said Hussein Ahaddin alias Abu Tiih, was taken from his hideout in Barangay Muti here on Tuesday.

“He is one of the vital members of the bombing cell of the Abu Sayyaf,” he told the Inquirer.

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Khu said Ahaddin previously worked with Ustadz Abdullaj Ajijul alias Abu Termije and Amilhamja Ajijul alias Alex Alvarez and Abu Jamil. Both the Ajijuls were slain in police and military operations.

Ahaddin denied any association with the Abu Sayyaf and said he had no involvement in bombing incidents here.

“I have no idea why they always arrest me. I was discharged from prison before because they did not find evidence against me,” he said.

Ahaddin said he was a “habal-habal” (passenger motorcycle) driver who also ran errands for a living.

Harija Ahaddin, the suspected bomber’s wife, said her husband was watching TV at the house of his sister when he was arrested.

“My husband is a good person. He would not commit a crime to support his family. He would rather do jobs for our neighbors to earn money,” Harija said.

She said they could not understand why the authorities appeared to be singling out her husband.

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Harija said that in 2009, her husband was arrested because his name sounded similar to that of a suspect in the bomb explosion in Barangay Malagutay here.

A month later, he was freed because the authorities failed to establish he was the same person, she said.

Khu admitted that Ahaddin, 39, was arrested in 2009 but said the authorities were forced to release him because of a petition for habeas corpus.

“It was also not proven that his name was similar to Muksin Ajijul Ahadil so the court ordered his release,” he said.

Khu said the government made an appeal and amended the charge sheet, which was the basis for a warrant issued against Ahaddin on March 13, 2010.

He said Ahaddin was responsible for the Oct. 17, 2002 bombing of the Shopper’s Central and Shop-O-Rama department stores that left seven people dead and 157 wounded.

Khu said Ahaddin was also involved in other bomb attacks in the city, including the 2005 explosion inside a minibus, the October explosions at the Red Palm Inn, the San Roque Cockpit and in Barangay Sangali, which killed half a dozen persons.

But Khu said he was not certain if Ahaddin was involved in Sunday’s explosion at the Atilano Pension House here, where three people were killed.

“We don’t have witnesses to prove that but we have some witnesses against him in past bombing incidents,” he said.

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TAGS: Abu Sayyaf member, Barangay Malagutay explosion, Hussein Ahaddin alias Abu Tiih, Terrorism
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