2 more ASG plantation raiders apprehended

SECURITY forces have arrested another two alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) involved in the kidnapping of plantation workers 16 years ago in Basilan, a top police official announced Saturday.

Chief Superintendent Billy Beltran, Police Regional Office-Zamboanga Peninsula director, identified the apprehended suspects as Rabulat Balito and Issa Sampang alias Sonny Abubakar.

Beltran said Balito was arrested around 7:50 a.m. Friday in the village of Recodo, this city, while Sampang around 7 a.m. Saturday in Mariki, also in this city.

Beltran said both Balito and Sampang have standing warrants of arrest for their alleged involvement in the kidnapping of workers at the Golden Harvest Plantation in Barangay Tairan, Lantawan, Basilan province on June 11, 2001.

He said they were identified by the witnesses who are under the Witness Protection and Security Benefit Program (WPSBP) of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The witnesses informed the police authorities that there were some 70 ASG members who were involved in the kidnapping of plantation workers.

Balito and Sampang were the sixth and seventh members of the ASG involved in the kidnapping of plantation workers that were arrested by the authorities this year in this city.

The other five were the following: Mudrim Isnani; Emran Ismael; Bryan Mohammad; Puyat Saiyadi, and, Faizal Sariul, 35.

The Abu Sayyaf bandits have seized 15 workers when they raided the Golden Harvest Plantation on June 11, 2001.

The Abu Sayyaf bandits have executed by beheading some of the hostages while the others have either escaped or were rescued by pursuing military forces. - Bong Garcia
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