‘Abu Sayyaf’ man tagged in 2001 Lamitan siege falls
MANILA, Philippines — A member of the Abu Sayyaf group allegedly involved in the bloody 2001 Lamitan siege was arrested on Tuesday in Basilan province.
Nasser Usman was collared at around 1:15 a.m. in Barangay (village) Tandung Ahas in Lamitan City, Basilan, after years of hiding from the law, the Philippine National Police said.
The long-time fugitive was apprehended by virtue of an arrest warrant issued by the Isabela City Regional Trial Court Branch 2 Judge Danilo Bucoy for kidnapping and serious illegal detention for the Lamitan siege.
In June 2001, the Abu Sayyaf group took several people captive from Lamitan in a fierce stand-off with government troops, leaving more than 20 soldiers dead in the fighting. Two hostages were beheaded by the bandit group.
The PNP said Usman was then a sub-leader for Islamic propagation and indoctrination and was part of the Lamitan siege.
Police also claimed that he took part in the 1995 Ipil siege during which Abu Sayyaf members disguised as military troops raided the town of Ipil in Zamboanga del Sur. Around 53 people were killed while banks and shops were looted in the attack. The Abu Sayyaf group seized 30 captives as they fled.
Authorities have also tagged Usman in the 2000 kidnapping of teachers and students from two schools in Tumahubong, Sumisip, Basilan. A priest and three teachers who were among those abducted were later found dead on May 3, 2000.
The suspect is now detained at the PNP Police Regional Office 9 while awaiting his court date.
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