Friday, June 04, 2010

Police holds Sayyaf man in Zamboanga City

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / June 4, 2010) – A Muslim family whose son was seized by police agents in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines appealed to authorities to free the man accused as being a member of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group.

The suspect, George Nambi, was seized by armed men near the village of Santa Barbara earlier this week. His companion managed to escape and sought police protection only to learn that Nambi is being held on suspicion of being a militant responsible in 2002 kidnappings of civilians in Sulu province.

Nambi’s family denied the accusations and insisted the man was innocent and so were nine other Muslim men who are also being hunted down by the police on the same allegations.

“Our son is innocent. He is a good man with no criminal records,” Nambi’s mother told reporters.

Nambi’s friends also denied the police accusations. “If we are members of the Abu Sayyaf, we will not go to the police and seek assistance to locate George,” one of Nambi’s friends, said. “Every day we go to the mosque and pray – five times a day – and then sit and relax under a tree, but now we are being hunted like criminals.”

Police and military agents previously seized at gunpoint suspected Abu Sayyaf members and charged them with kidnappings and terrorism, among others, and flown to Manila where they are locked-up along with other criminals. Many of them were illegally arrested and complained of being tortured into admitting they are Abu Sayyaf members.

Authorities linked the Abu Sayyaf, a small, but the most violent Muslim rebel group fighting for independence, to the spate of terrorism and kidnappings-for-ransom in the southern Philippines.

The group, whose original name is “Al-harakatul al-Islamiya,” which means “bearer of the sword,” was also linked by the military to the Indonesian terrorist organization the “Jemaah Islamiya,” blamed for the deadly bombings in Bali in 2002. (Mindanao Examiner)

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