THE police said the arrest of an Abu Sayyaf Group “spotter” is a big blow to the kidnapping activities of the group in Zamboanga del Norte and other parts of Zamboanga Peninsula (Western Mindanao).
Senior Superintendent Edwin Wagan, Zamboanga del Norte police director, said the arrest of Abner Gumandol has great effect since the latter serves as the “eye” of the rebels in its kidnapping activities in the region.
Gumandol, who carries the aliases of Sehar Muloc, Abner Muloc, and Commander Red Eye, was arrested last week in the village of Kaliantana, Naga, Zamboanga Sibugay.
Gumandol is the leader of criminal gang known as “Muloc group” operating in the municipalities of Salug, Liloy, Godo, and Tampilisan.
“Hindi ko masasabi na totally wala na pero nakita natin na nasusugatan ang grupo (Muloc) sa pagkahuli nitong si Kumander Red Eye,” Wagan said citing Gumandol is a notorious lawless group commander in the region.
Major Filemon Tan Jr., Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) spokesman, said Gumandol has direct link with Sulu-based ASG mid-level leader Idang Susukan.
Gumandol is allegedly involved in the October 7, 2015 kidnapping of former Italian priest, Rolando del Torchio in Zamboanga City and of Jeffrey Lim, the mayor of Salug, Zamboanga del Norte on April 2, 2012.
Sharifa Muloc, who claimed to be the wife of Gumandol, however, has denied that her husband is an ASG member.
“He is not an Abu Sayyaf member but a brigade commander of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) based in Camp Salman,” she claimed.
The MILF camp is located in Barangay Salman, Tungawan, Zamboanga Sibugay.
Wagan said the alert category has been raised to the highest level at the Zamboanga del Norte provincial headquarters where Gumandol is detained.
Wagan disclosed that additional personnel from the Zamboanga del Norte public safety company have been tasked to augment in guarding Gumandol’s detention cell.