Friday, June 26, 2009

Philippine military awards P5.75 million to informants

Marine Colonel Andre Costales hands over Friday, June 26, 2009 reward money to one of four masked informants who helped the military capture five al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf and New People’s Army rebel leaders during a brief ceremony at the Western Mindanao Command headquarters in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines. Costales awarded P5.75 million to the four informants. Manila has offered P100 million in reward money for the capture of known Abu Sayyaf commanders and the United States, which is helping the Philippine military defeat terrorism, also offered as much as $10 million for the capture of Abu Sayyaf leaders. Both Abu Sayyaf and the New People’s Army are in the US list of foreign terrorist organizations. (Mindanao Examiner Photo / Jung Francisco)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / June 26, 2009) - The Philippine military on Friday awarded more than five million pesos reward to four men who helped security forces capture or killing of six Filipino terrorists in Mindanao.

Marine Colonel Andre Costales handed some P5.75 million to masked informants at the Western Mindanao Command headquarters in Zamboanga City. The informants did not speak to journalists and were whisked away by their military escorts after getting the bounties.

Costales said the rewards given to the informants for the capture of Abu Sayyaf terrorists Jul Asbi Julmaani, Ustadz Wahab Upao, Ting Adil, Ronnei Ahadjaji, Mubin Hayudini and Wenefredo Ramirez, of the communist rebel group New People’s Army.

“This activity is part of the government’s continuing efforts to bring about peace and development to the country through the direct participation of the community,” he said.

Upao, a sub-leader of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group, was tagged as among those who killed a kidnapped US citizen Guillermo Sobero in 2001 in Basilan province and the murder of a Filipino Catholic priest Rey Roda in Tawi-Tawi province in 2008. And also the kidnapping of dozens of students and teachers in Basilan also in 2001.

Upao, a founding member of the Abu Sayyaf, was captured in his hideout in Zamboanga City in 2001, but jumped bail until he was tracked down and eventually killed by soldiers in a firefight last year in Tawi-Tawi.

The military also said that Ahadjadi, Hayudini, Julmaani and Adil were involved in many bombings in Mindanao and kidnappings, including American missionary Charles Walton in Sulu province in 1993 and the 21 Asian and European holidaymakers who were taken from the Malaysian island resort of Sipadan and US missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham and Sobero at a Filipino resort in Palawan province.

While Julmaani was linked to the kidnappings in January this year of three Red Cross workers in Sulu province – Swiss national Andreas Notter, Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba and Italian Eugenio Vagni. Both Notter and Lacaba had been freed by the Abu Sayyaf, but it continues to hold Vagni and would only release him in exchange for a huge ransom.

And Adil, an explosives expert, is also a member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, had fought in Afghanistan in 1987 and later trained in Pakistan and finished a four-year course in Arabic Jurisprudence at the Al-Farouk University in Islamabad. Adil, who was involved in many bombing activities in central Mindanao, had also been arrested in Zamboanga City in January this year. (With a report from Jung Francisco)

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