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Colonel says torture of Abu Sayyaf suspect ‘shocked’ him

/ 11:18 PM August 06, 2011

ZAMBOANGA CITY—A top military officer here said the torture of an Abu Sayyaf suspect by some of his men was frustrating for him.

“It was like I was ambushed,” said Col. Alexander Macario, head of the Task Force Basilan, whose mission include fighting the Abu Sayyaf.

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The victim, Abdul Khan Ajid, was arrested by soldiers on July 23 on suspicion he was Kanneh Malikilivo, an Abu Sayyaf member.

But his family repeatedly claimed he was a baker and was never an Abu Sayyaf member.

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Ajid had said he was beaten and suffered serious burns while soldiers forced him to admit his involvement in the Abu Sayyaf. Macario said he was unaware of the torture.

He said he only learned about Ajid’s ordeal when he ordered his men to bring him to court following the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus based on his family’s petition.

“It was in the court where I saw the suspect. I was really very frustrated,” Macario said.

He said he had no idea that soldiers could do such thing to a suspected Abu Sayyaf.

“I had no idea they were being abusive. I don’t think that there could be justifiable reason—personal or otherwise—to do that,” Macario said.

As a result, he said he immediately ordered the arrest of Capt. Sherwin Guidangen, Staff Sergeant Elmer Magdaraog, Sergeant Edgardo Santos and Sgt. George Awing recommended them for court martial proceedings.

Lt. Randolph Cabangbang, Western Mindanao Command spokesman, said the soldiers are under technical arrest.

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As Ajid’s story came to light, another suspected Abu Sayyaf member cried torture in the hands of soldiers in Basilan, according to Nixon Alonzo, executive director of Basilan Human Rights Center.

Alonzo said the victim was a 17-year-old student of the Mindanao State University in Lamitan who was forced into admitting he possessed explosives. Julie Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: abu sayyaf, Terrorism, torture
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