Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sayyaf man arrested in Zamboanga City

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / October 13, 2009) – Security forces arrested a suspected Abu Sayyaf militant in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines for his alleged involvements in the kidnappings of dozens of teachers and students, including a Catholic priest in nearby Basilan island in 2000, officials said Tuesday.

Regional military spokesman Major Ramon David Hontiveros said Alih Mandangan was in a car when soldiers intercepted him Monday night in the village of Rio Hondo. “He is facing charges of kidnapping with serious illegal detention. Alih Mandangan was arrested at 10 p.m. Monday in Rio Hondo,” Hontiveros said.

Mandangan is said to working as village guard in Mariki, a Muslim enclave in Zamboanga City. But it was unknown how he evaded authorities in Basilan for nine years only to be captured in Zamboanga. Local authorities have arrested many Abu Sayyaf militants in Zamboanga City in recent years.

The Abu Sayyaf kidnapped the teachers and students, including a Catholic priest Rhoel Gallardo after militants raided two schools in the village of Tumahubong in Basilan’s Sumisip town on March 20, 2000. Militants had tortured and beheaded Gallardo and also killed three teachers.

The next month, another faction of the Abu Sayyaf also raided a Malaysian resort island called Sipadan and seized 21 mostly Asian and European tourists and brought them to the southern Philippines and held for ransom. Three months later, militants also kidnapped more than a dozen Christian evangelists who went to Sulu to pray for the release of the Sipadan hostages. (Mindanao Examiner)

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