Entire family arrested at police checkpoint in Basilan city
ZAMBOANGA CITY—An entire family has been arrested on still unspecified charges by police, including members of the Special Action Force (SAF), in Basilan.
Nixon Alonzo, executive director of Basilan Human Rights Action Network (Bahran), said members of the Bataa family were entering Lamitan City when the vehicle they were riding was flagged down by SAF men at a checkpoint near Claret High School past 11 a.m. on Wednesday.
The Bataas are from the village of Kaddayan in Akbar town, said Alonzo.
Alonzo identified those arrested, for what he said were unspecified reasons, as Yatim Bataa, his wife Hadja Nasima and the couple’s two daughters.
“They were arrested for no apparent reason by the SAF-PNP and they were brought to the SAF post and placed under tactical interrogation,” Alonzo said.
Lawyer Laisa Alamia, chief of the Commission on Human Rights in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), confirmed the report.
“The whole family will be brought to Zamboanga, probably to the CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group) office,” Alamia said.
Chief Insp. Kenneth Balisang, acting Lamitan police chief and a SAF officer, was not responding to the Inquirer’s queries on Alonzo’s claim.
But Chief Supt. Mario Avenido, police chief of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, quoted a report as saying a man was indeed arrested, not by the SAF but by operatives of the CIDG in Lamitan.
Avenido said he was not certain if the man arrested by the CIDG was the same man who belonged to the family that Alonzo said has been arresetd.
“The SAF only served as a support unit when the CIDG arrested a man based on a warrant. Only one person was arrested, not an entire family,” he said.
Supt. Edgar Danao, CIDG chief for Western Mindanao, confirmed that a man, whom he did not identify, had been arrested in Lamitan on suspicion of being an Abu Sayyaf bandit.
Danao said the arrested suspect would be brought to the CIDG headquarters here. Julie Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao
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