Abu Sayyaf bandit disguises as soldier, apprehended

MILITARY troops have apprehended a member of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) who tried to disguise as a soldier in the province of Sulu.

Brigadier General Arnel dela Vega, Joint Task Force Sulu commander, identified the arrested Abu Sayyaf bandit as Pauji Asgari, who was caught dressed in military camouflage uniform.

Dela Vega said Asgari was apprehended by the Army's 41st Infantry Battalion troops around 5 a.m. Tuesday in the municipality of Talipao, Sulu.

Dela Vega said the troops seized from Asgari's possession an M-16 rifle with ammunition, electric cords, combat pack, mobile phone, hammock and a motorcycle.

He said Asgari was arrested after concerned residents informed them about the bandit's presence in Talipao.

Dela Vega said he suspects that Asgari is among the bandits who splintered from the ASG to evade the pursuing government troops.

"The success of the apprehension is due to the cooperation of local residents," he added.

He said the arrested bandit was brought to Camp Bautista Hospital for medical checkup and psycho-social processing and was formally turned over Wednesday to the police in Jolo, Sulu.

The focused military operation resulted in the rescue and recovery of 16 hostages. Twelve others remain in captivity.

The remaining hostages include five Malaysians, four Filipinos, two Indonesians, and one Dutchman. (Sunnex)
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