Saturday, November 07, 2009

Sayyaf executioner captured in Zamboanga City

Philippine troops load onto a truck on Wednesday July 11, 2007 the bodies of Philippine Marines who were killed in a clash with Abu Sayyaf and Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels while searching for a kidnapped Italian priest Giancarlo Bossi on the volatile island province of Basilan in southern Philippines. Troops recovered the bodies of 14 marines, ten of them mutilated, in one of the bloodiest fights that year, which erupted on Al-Barka town. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / November 7, 2009) – Philippine authorities arrested Saturday an Abu Sayyaf militant in Zamboanga City who was tagged as among those who beheaded 10 soldiers in the southern province of Basilan, reports said.

The militant, Asnawi Sala, was linked by the police and military to the brutal slaying of the 14 Marines, ten of them beheaded, on July 10, 2007 in a clash in the town of Al-Barka.

The soldiers were searching for a kidnapped Italian priest Giancarlo Bossi when they strayed into rebel territory on the volatile province and a firefight ensued.

Police and military officials did not give details of the arrest of Sala, who is now being investigated at an undisclosed camp.

Last month, soldiers also arrested a suspected Abu Sayyaf militant, Alih Mandangan, in Zamboanga’s Rio Hondo village. The military said Mandangan was involved in the kidnappings of dozens of teachers and students, including a Catholic priest in Basilan in 2000.

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 Gallardo before killing him and three other teachers.

Another Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Almujahid Susukan was also arrested at the pier in Zamboanga City in September on 21 charges of kidnappings. Susukan is the brother of Jawawi and Mujiv Susukan, both Abu Sayyaf leaders who were killed in separate military offensive in Sulu province over the past years.

Susukan was implicated in the kidnappings of 21 Asian and European holidaymakers from the Malaysian island-resort of Sipadan in 2000.

The report said Susukan was a former Moro rebel who later joined the army, but later deserted his unit and joined the Abu Sayyaf. He was previously arrested by the military in Sulu province, however, it was unclear whether Susukan had been freed or escaped or working with the armed forces as a spy.

Many of arrested Abu Sayyaf had been used by the military as a spy, often working for bounties offered by the Philippine and US governments for the capture of known militant leaders in Mindanao. (Mindanao Examiner)

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