SECURITY forces have arrested a suspected member of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) involved in the kidnapping of 53 people 18 years ago in Basilan province, the police reported Saturday.
Chief Superintendent Billy Beltran, Police Regional Office-Zamboanga Peninsula director, identified the arrested suspect as Masser Lim Omar, 57, of Panigayan village, Malamawi Island, Isabela City, Basilan.
Beltran said Omar was arrested by joint police and military forces around 2:30 a.m. Saturday in his residence in Panigayan, Malamawi Island.
Beltran said Omar has standing warrant of arrest for kidnapping and serious illegal detention with ransom with no recommended bail for his alleged involvement in the March 21, 2000 kidnapping of 53 people from a school in the village of Tumahubong, Sumisip, Basilan.
The victims included Claretian priest, Fr. Roel Gallardo, who was executed by the Abu Sayyaf bandits.
The other victims included teachers and students.
They were herded to an ASG camp in Mount Punoh Mohaji, Sumisip where some of them were released in batches in exchange for food supply and “tokens.”
The rest of the hostages were rescued by the troops in an assault that saw the fall of the ASG camp.
Beltran said Omar was taken to the Isabela City police station for proper booking and disposition.
He lauded the Isabela City Police Station under the leadership of Superintendent Resituto Pangusban and other operating units for a job well-done.