A “SPOTTER” of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) was arrested by policemen in a law enforcement operation in Zamboanga City, an official announced Tuesday.

Police Brigadier General Jesus Cambay, Jr., Police Regional Office-Zamboanga Peninsula director, identified the arrested ASG spotter as Hamid Udoh Butlangan, 50, a seaweed farmer, who was arrested in a law enforcement operation by way of service of warrant of arrest around 11:40 a.m. Monday at Omar Drive in Arena Blanco village.

Cambay said Butlangan has standing warrants of arrest for violation of Republic Act 9165 otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 with no recommended bail issued on October 18, 2019 by the court of this city and is listed as Top 7 in the Regional Priority Target Drugs Personalities.

He said that Butlangan has served as spotter of kidnap victims of the Abu Sayyaf bandits under the group of the late bandit sub-leader Alhabsy Misaya and “still connected with the ASG operating in Sulu.”

He said that Butlangan was involved in the August 19, 2014 kidnapping of Michelle Panes, a businesswoman, in Labuan village, 36 kilometers west of city hall.

Panes and her husband, Noel, were seized by Abu Sayyaf bandits from the family-owned grocery in Labuan.

But Noel managed to escape when responding policemen from Zamboanga City Pollice Office’s Station 10 arrived and engaged in a shootout with the Abu Sayyaf bandits.

The Abu Sayyaf bandits fled aboard motorboats towards the high seas bringing with Michelle, who was freed on December 24, 2014 in Bilaan village, Talipao, Sulu.

Cambay said that Butlangan is now under the temporary custody of the local police. (SunStar Zamboanga)