Indonesian arrested in Marawi

ILIGAN CITY -- Members of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT) of Barangay Loksadatu in Marawi City arrested an Indonesian national said to be a member of Isis in Indonesia and the intelligence officer of the late Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon around 7 a.m., Wednesday, November 1.

Police Senior Superintendent John Guygoyan, Provincial Director of Lanao del Sur Provincial Police Office, identified the Indonesian as Mohammad Ilham Syahputra of Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia.

"Di marunong mag-English pero nakakaintindi ng Tagalog at nakapagsalita ng putol-putol," Guygoyan said.

Guygoyan said Syahputra told investigators he came to the Philippines in November 2016 and went straight to Marawi City to serve as an intelligence officer of Hapilon, the anointed "emir" of Isis in Southeast Asia, who also led the attack in the predominantly Muslim city.

Guygoyan said Syahputra admitted he is a member of ISIS in Indonesia.

Syahputra, according to police investigators, left the main battle area only a few days ago to escape through a tunnel that he was hiding in with other stragglers.

Guygoyan said Syahputra had gunshot wounds on his stomach and some bruises on his body which, Guygoyan said, the foreigner sustained while trying to escape.

"Sinabi niya na may mga kasama pa sa loob, pero di na sinabi kung mga kasama talagang fighters o mga hostages na ginawa na din nilang fighters," Guygoyan cited.

The military said, male hostages were forced by the Isis-inspired Maute group to carry firearms and fight against the government forces as the battle became intense.

Guygoyan thanked the BPAT and the whole community of Marawi for being alert and for cooperating with authorities.

"The arrest of Syahputra is a big blow against our enemies. With this, they should know that terrorists are not welcome here at hindi natin sila papayagang magkalat," Guygoyan added.

Zia Alonto Adiong, Lanao del Sur provincial crisis management spokesperson, said the latest development validates the position of the local government that civilian participation is essential in the collective effort to secure their communities from terrorists.

"Crucial in our security effort to fully restore normalcy in the controlled area is to maintain vigilance by our residents," Adiong said in a statement sent to the media.

"We must develop and strengthen the civilian security plan as proposed by the Provincial Peace and Order Council of Lanao del Sur to inspire further people’s initiative in order to compliment our state forces’ on-going clearing operation down to the barangay level," he added.

Guygoyan said Syahputra will be brought to the Philippine National Police (PNP) national headquarters for proper disposition.

"Ipapa-identify din siya nung isang na-rescue na hostage na ginawang doktor ng mga Isis habang nasa loob siya," Guygoyan said referring to Lordvin Acopio, a teacher of Dansalan College who was able to escape and was eventually rescued by the military together with Catholic priest Father Chito Suganob.


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