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PNP-SAF’s intel-driven operations yield top terror catch

October 27, 2022 Alfred P. Dalizon 843 views

PNPMORE ‘intelligence-driven’ counter-terror operations launched by the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) in the Southern Philippines since the start of the new Marcos administration has resulted in the neutralization of a number of top Abu Sayyaf operatives, the Journal Group learned yesterday.

Last October 21, a PNP-SAF operation in Barangay Candelaria in Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte led to the capture of two most wanted Abu Sayyaf members, PNP-SAF director, Brigadier General Edgar Alan O. Okubo said.

In a report to PNP chief, General Rodolfo S. Azurin Jr., the official identified the arrested suspects as Madjini Baterol alias ‘Majini’ and Anderson Hassan alias ‘Sabaya,’ described respectively as the 3rd and 5th most wanted men in Western Mindanao.

Okubo said commandos from the 85th Special Action Company of the SAF’s Rapid Deployment Battalion swooped down on the suspects’ hideout in Barangay Candelaria in Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte and immediately subdued the two elusive terrorists.

Both were arrested on the strength of a warrant for murder and kidnapping issued by Judge Ruebin Maraon of the Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte Regional Trial Court Branch 27, he said.

Okubo said the two are being hunted in connection with their involvement in extortion, illegal logging, cattle-rustling, gun-for-hire, kidnapping-for-ransom and robbery activities as well as ambuscades on security troops in the province.

Both were likewise tagged as sub-leaders of the Lumarang Criminal Gang which is affiliated with the group of Abu Sayyaf leaders Almujer Yada alias ‘Ben Tattoo,’ the PNP-SAF director said.

Okubo said his men were supported by officers from the Zamboanga del Norte Police Provincial Office,Police Regional Office 9 (PRO9) Regional Special Operations Unit, Regional Intelligence Unit 9, the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group’s Mindanao Field Unit and the Philippine Air Force in arresting the duo.

Last October 14, heavy fighting also erupted between troopers from the PNP-SAF and a group of heavily-armed Abu Sayyaf terrorists in Parang, Sulu resulting in the death of one of the most wanted extremists, Okubo told the Journal Group.

According to the official, officers from the SAF’s 75th Special Action Company clashed with the suspects as they were about to serve a warrant of arrest for murder issued against two of them identified as Alganer Dawadil Dahim and Alal Jil Ismin Jupakkal.

“We launched the operation following an intelligence-packet developed by intelligence officers from our 74th SAC under the SAF’s 7th Special Action Battalion,” said the official in a report to Azurin.

Okubo said armed with a warrant for murder issued against the suspects by Judge Shene Cañete of the Parang, Sulu RTC Branch 4,, nearly 100 operatives of the 71st, 72nd, 73rd and 74th Special Action Companies, backed up by officers from the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, the Sulu Police Provincial Office and the Parang Municipal Police Station went to Bgy. Guimba Lagasan in Parang municipality to arrest the suspects.

He said that Dahim and Jupakkal are known members of the Abu Sayyaf Group under the late Commander Albader Parad and Commander Majan/Majar Sahidjuan alias ‘Apoh Mike’ operating in the Sulu municipalities of Indanan, Parang and Maimbung.

Okubo said the suspects and their cohorts were known to be providing sea vessels specifically the ‘jungkong-type’ speedboats used by the group of Sahidjuan in kidnapping five Indonesian nationals in Tawi-Tawi province in March 2021.

The PNP-SAF director said the suspects were also monitored to be involved in ‘narco-terrorism and extortion activities’ in Parang and Maimbung, Sulu.

He added that his men were approaching the house of the wanted terrorists when they were met with heavy gunfire from its occupants prompting the SAF commandos to retaliate triggering a gunfight for around 10 minutes.

During the clash, Jupakkal was hit and was pronounced dead upon arrival at the Integrated Sulu Provincial Hospital by an attending physician.

Okubo said Dahim and his other cohorts managed to escape arrest by using the cover of darkness and are still being hunted as of press time.

Last October 6, one of the Department of Interior and Local Government’s Most Wanted Persons was also killed in a gunbattle with PNP-SAF commandos out to arrest him in his hideout in Zamboanga Sibugay.

Okubo identified the slain suspect as Rasol Motabil Canda alias ‘Kah,’ a suspected member of the Abu Sayyaf Group wanted for murder, rape and homicide.

Recovered from theslain suspect were one unlicensed caliber .38 revolver with two spent cartridges and several live ammunition and a fragmentation grenade.

Okubo said prior to the gunfight, a Zamboanga Sibugay regional trial court ordered the arrest of the suspect with no bail recommended.

The official said members of the SAF’s 5th Special Action Battalion launched the intelligence-driven operation to get the elusive suspect with the help of some civilian informants.

He added that members of the 5th SAB tried to serve the warrants for the arrest of the suspect in his hiding place in Bgy. Tupilac in RT Lim, Zamboanga Sibugay.

“However, the suspect refused to surrender peacefully and instead fired shots at the SAF raiders who were forced to retaliate killing him on the spot,” said Okubo.

The official described the slain suspect as a member of the Barahama Alih Crime Group reportedly involved in gun-for-hire, extortion and robbery-holdup activities in the province.

He said the suspect and his colleagues are being hunted in connection with a series of robbery incidents victimizing drivers and passengers of Rural Transit Bus Company and jeepneys traversing the highways in Ipil, Naga and Kabasalan towns; extortion activities on businessmen and fishermen in the province;

A robbery at the Tenan Elementary School victimizing one woman named Lilita Saria on February 3, 2015; a robbery at the national highway in Bgy. Tenan in Ipil town which victimized Indian national Harvindra Singh on February 6, 2015;

A robbery in Bgy. Upper Pangi in Ipil on February 23, 2015 wherein the victim identified as Annaliza Juntado lost some cash and valuables to the suspects; a robbery at the Zamboanga Sibugay Provincial Hospital on March 13;, 2015; the killing of one Staff Sergeant Ablao, an intelligence officer of the Army’s 44th Infantry Battalion;

The burning of a patrol car of the Zamboanga Sibugay Provincial Mobile Force Company in May 2014; and a robbery in Bgy. Don Andres in Ipil victimizing one Virginia Culanculan on January 13, 2014.

Okubo said they have received information that the slain suspect is deeply involved with the Abu Sayyaf’s lawless activities including kidnapping-for-ransom