Abu flees Basilan fighting, is nabbed in Zambo City PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 10 July 2016 14:33

By DAN TORIBIO JR.

An Abu Sayyaf suspect, alleged to have fled from the ongoing military offensive in Basilan, was arrested at Sitio Marangan, Muti, this city Saturday morning.

The latest Basilan offensive has displaced thousands of people and left nine Abu Sayyaf militants dead.

Report said that men from the different units of the City Police Office served a search warrant on two houses owned by Hasbi Ahiddin and Kibbi Hassan.

The sketchy report said that during the serving of the warrant, lawmen arrested Ahiddin for his alleged link with the IS-affiliated  group. Confiscated from his possession were a .38 caliber revolver and fragmentation grenade.

It was gahered Ahiddin escaped the military offensive in Basilan and went into hiding at Sitio Marangan.

The Basilan offensive started after the miliary learned that Abu Sayyaf militants led by Puruji Indama and Isnilon Hapilon occupied three barangays in Tipo-Tipo.

Ungkayan Pukan Mayor Jomar Maturan told newsmen in Isabela City Firday that hundreds of Abu Sayyaf Abu Sayyaf militants from Sulu have landed in the shores of Tipo-Tipo, Basilan before the eve of Hari Raya Puasa to re-inforce their  beleagered comrades.

Maturan said the Abu Sayyaf from Sulu were helping their comrades in Basilan in harassing the 18 Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army in its different detachments.

He said the militants started the trouble in the poblacion of Tipo-Tipo Thursday night and about 200 families evacuated to their relatives in Ungkayan Pukan.

Maturan said the Abu Sayyaf used  Puno Alibasa  or Mt. Alibasa ) as their sniping point using a 59 caliber Barret and 50 caliber semi-automatic shots in fighting the soldiers.

Troops countered the sniper attack by Abu Sayyaf with mortar shelling and other high caliber guns resulting in the wounding of nine militants.

“ Wala man ako nakuha na information na may sugatan ang military. Tinitira ng Abu Sayyaf gabi-gabi ang military. We are appealing to the high leadership of the government na tulungan nila kami ng pagkain at tubig. Sobra ang panggugulo ng Abu Sayyaf.... Mga civilians ang naapektuhan,” Maturan said.

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman told newsmen that he believesthe military and the police can finish the Abu Sayyaf with the help of local government units and the populace.

“We have to stay united and solid to finish the lawless, elements,” Hataman said.

Gov. Jim Saliman was quoted by ABS-CBN News Saturday that the number of families who fled the scene of the fighting  rose to 1,200.

As this developed, newly-installed chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) made his first visit to the headquarters of the Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) on Saturday morning.

AFP Chief of Staff General Ricardo Visaya was accompanied by Wesmincom commander, Lt. Gen. Mayoralgo Dela Cruz, during the arrival honors.

In a short interview, Visaya said he went to Zamboanga City to plan out how to resolve the Abu Sayyaf problem following the group’s recent encounters with government troops in Sulu and Basilan.

The timeline given to him was based on President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement which is three to six months.

Visaya denied the presence of ISIS in Tipo-Tipo as claimed by the former municipal mayor Joel Maturan.– Dan Toribio