Kidnap gang leader in Sibugay shot dead PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 14 March 2016 13:12

By DAN TORIBIO JR.

The leader of a kidnap gang with links to the Abu Sayyaf was shot dead Sunday by security forces in Naga town, notorious as kidnappers’ lair in Zamboanga Sibugay

The Police Regional Office-9 said Muhidden Abdusalam Uyong alias Wanning Abdusalam,  tagged as behind the kidnapping of an Australian former soldier and an Irish priest, was shot dead after he resisted arrest by  policemen and army soldiers in Naga,  whose mayor Gemma Adana herself was a kidnap victim last year.

Adana was snatched by kidnappers in her coastal residence in Naga  in April last year and was freed seven months later in the Abu Sayyaf stronghold province of Sulu.

Alabata said police officers and army soldiers  came to arrest Abdusalam in Naga, but he opened fire on the arresting team triggering a shootout.

The police spokesman said Abdusalam was killed in a brief gunfight.

The lawmen rushed Abdusalam to  the Ipil Provincial Hospital wher he was declared dead on arrival. Recovered at the scene of the shootout was a .45 caliber pistol believed belonging toAbdusalam.

Abdusalam’s group have been blamed for the series of kidnappings and extortion racket  in Zamboanga Sibugay.

There were earlier reports that Abdusalam had been killed on November 6, 2011.

Alabata said Abdulsalam was  reported as a member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front “lost command” group, tagged as involved in the kidnapping for Fr. Michael Sinnott in 2009 and former Australian soldier Warren Rodwell in 2011.

Sinnott was freed after a month of captivity through the intercession of the MILF and Rodwell spent 15 months as a hostage and was  only freed after ransom was paid.

Kidnap-for-ransom gangs frequently operate in the Zamboanga peninsula region - Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga City.

Police sources say the gangs turn their captives over to the Abu Sayyaf and negotiate for a ransom that, if paid, is shared with the group.

The kidnappers use isolated sea-lanes and coastal areas to grab their victims, who are then held captive in isolated Muslim villages in the peninsula.

Since 1991, the Abu Sayyaf — armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles — has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortion in a self-determined fight for an independent Islamic province in the Philippines.

It is notorious for beheading victims after ransoms have failed to be paid for their release. — Dan Toribio Jr.