AN ALLEGED Abu Sayyaf leader and a follower were arrested separately by government forces on Thursday, July 13, in Turtle Islands town, Tawi-Tawi.
The Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) said in a statement identified the suspected Abu Sayyaf sub-leader as Omar Harun alias Halipa, who was arrested around 6:25 a.m., Thursday, by joint military and police forces Taganak Poblacion village.
Ara Samindo, an Abu Sayyaf follower, was also arrested later in Lagaan Island also in the Turtle Islands towns.
The Wesmincom said that Harun and Samindo were close associates of Abu Sayyaf sub-leaders Alden Bagadi alias Sayning, Majan Sahijuan alias Apo Mike, and the late Abraham Hamid and Alhabsy Misaya.
Both were allegedly involved in different hijackings including that of the Vietnam-Flag vessel, M/V Giang Hai, at Pearl Bank, Tawi-tawi on February 19. Six Vietnamese crewmen were kidnapped while one was killed.
The Wesmincom said that the arrest of the duo have brought to a total of 69 Abu Sayyaf bandits, who were arrested since January 1, this year.
Of this number, the Wesmincom said that 11 were apprehended in Basilan, 43 in Sulu, five in Tawi-Tawi, and 10 in Zamboanga City. (Bong Garcia/SunStar Philippines)