FIVE suspected members of a kidnap-for-ransom-group (KFRG) were arrested while some P11.4 million worth of suspected “shabu” were seized in separate law enforcement operations in Zamboanga Sibugay province, officials said Thursday.
Lieutenant Colonel Don Templonuevo, Army’s 44th Infantry Battalion commander, said at the same time on Thursday, March 14, the raiding team seized weapons, explosives and ammunition aside from suspected shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride).
Templonuevo identified the arrested suspects as Nicanel Maningo, Benhazer Anduhol, Solaiman Calon, Hashim Samdani, and Jay-ar Quartocruz, all members of the Barahama Alih group that is notorious in kidnap-for-ransom and illegal drug trade activities in Zamboanga Sibugay.
The army commander said Maningo, Anduhol and Calon were arrested after being served a search warrant around 1 p.m. Wednesday in Tenan village, Ipil town.
Templonuevo said seized from the three suspects were some P1.5 kilograms of suspected shabu packed in different sizes of plastic sachets with an estimated P10.2 million market value, one M-16 Armalite rifle, two handguns, explosives, ammunition, and illegal drug paraphernalia.
He said Samdani and Quartocruz were arrested in a follow-up operation around 10 a.m. Thursday also in Tenan village.
Seized from the two were some 600 grams of suspected shabu packed in several heat-sealed plastic sachets with an estimated market value of P1.2 million, he added.
Colonel Bagnus Gaerlan, Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade commander, said the arrest of the suspects will significantly reduce the capability of the Barahama Alih group in conducting kidnapping and other illegal activities in Zamboanga Sibugay.
“We will continue to go after them in order to ensure the safety and security of the people of Zamboanga Sibugay,” Gaerlan said, whose brigade has operational jurisdiction over the province of Zamboanga Sibugay.
Brigadier General Roberto Ancan, Army’s 1st Infantry Division commander, lauded the efforts of 102nd Brigade, 44th Infantry Battalion and the participating government forces for the successful arrest of the KFRG members and the confiscation of firearms, ammunitions, explosives, illegal drugs and paraphernalia.
The suspects were arrested by joint team of soldiers from the Army’s 44th Infantry Battalion, policemen, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) operatives, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Philippine Coast Guard.
“Our joint law enforcement operation with other agencies is relentless in defeating the lawless armed groups in order to protect our people,” Ancan said.
“We also urge the other stakeholders especially the local populace to be more vigilant and continue to report to the government forces any suspicious group or individuals in order to end this menace of society and sustain the peace and development efforts of the government,” Ancan added. (SunStar Philippines)