Another official of breakaway Moro rebel group UJIM falls
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Joint military and police agents arrested another official of the United Justice for Islamic Movement (UJIM) during an operation in Barangay (village) Bagua Mother in Cotabato City on Monday evening.
Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, spokesperson of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division based in Maguindanao, said Ustadz Abdulgani Pagao alias Sammy was nabbed around 8:05 p.m.
Petinglay said Pagao was the finance officer of the UJIM and served as vice chair for Mohammad Ali Tambako, who was earlier arrested.
Petinglay did not provide details on Pagao’s arrest beyond saying that the UJIM official was nabbed inside his home.
Police sources said the operation against Pagao was quite elaborate as dozens of men in four military trucks, backed by two Simba armored carriers, were mobilized.
Pagao was armed but it was not specified what types of firearms were seized.
Abu Misri Mama, spokesperson of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters confirmed that Pagao was among the early founders of the BIFF.
He said Pagao later joined Tambako in forming the UJIM.
Tambako, alias Ali, was arrested on March 15 in General Santos City.
He and four of his men were on their way to a seaport when intercepted by authorities, using a warrant for his alleged involvement in the 2013 BIFF attacks in Midsayap, North Cotabato – during which, a farmer was beheaded and several teachers were held hostage.
Tambako’s name and that of the UJIM emerged as among the armed men that clashed with the police’s Special Action Force after they killed Malaysian bomber Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, in Mamasapano on January 25. SFM
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