2 followers of Isnilon Hapilon arrested

TWO followers of Isnilon Hapilon, the slain Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) leader were arrested by policemen on Thursday morning, an official said Saturday.

Chief Superintendent Billy Beltran, Police Regional Office-Zamboanga Peninsula director, identified the two suspects as Sammer Lanjang, who carries the aliases of Abu Sammer and Abu Ziad, and a certain Abu Askabal.

Beltran said Lanjang and Askabal were arrested in a law enforcement operation around 10:30 a.m. in front of a fast food chain along Zaragosa Street in the village of Zone 4, in the city.

He said both were followers of Hapilon, the appointed emir of ISIS in Southeast Asia.

Hapilon was killed by government troops during the five-month war last year when the ISIS-inspired Maute group tried to take over Marawi City.

Beltran said Lanjang and Askabal have standing warrant of arrest for the crimes of kidnapping and serious illegal detention with no recommended bail issued by the court in Isabela City, Basilan province.

He said they were allegedly involved in the kidnapping of 15 workers on June 11, 2001 at the Golden Harvest Plantation in the village of Tairan, Lantawan, Basilan.

The ASG executed by beheading five of the 15 workers while remaining 10 have either escaped or rescued by pursuing military forces.

Beltran said Lanjang and Askabal were positively identified by witnesses who are under the witness protection program and security benefit program (WPSBP) of the Department of Justice (DOJ). (SunStar Philippines)


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