By Bitoon A Ranao
July 24, 2019
In a joint operation of the Philippine Army’s 44th Infantry Battalion (44 IB) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), a bomber of the Abu Sayyaf Group’s (ASG) was arrested at Brgy Bangkaw-Bangkaw, Naga, Zamboanga Sibugay province on Wednesday, the military said.
Lt. Col. Don Templonuevo, 44IB commander said, “Based on the revelation of ASG surrenderees, the suspect Isnaji Hasim is operating under Furiji Indama, a Basilan-based Abu Sayyaf Leader. He is also a close associate of Hashim Saripa, one of the responsible in bombing a military checkpoint in Lamitan, Basilan on July 31, 2018 were at least 10 died and 9 others were wounded.”
Templonuevo added that the suspect was also involved in the Jan 23, 2015 Guiwan Bus Terminal Bombing in Zamboanga City which resulted in 2 deaths and 52 injured.
The bomber yielded one caliber .30 BAR rifle, one grenade, improvised explosive, blasting caps and other bomb paraphernalia.
Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Bagnus Gaerlan, 102nd Infantry Brigade Commander, who has operational jurisdiction over Zamboanga Sibugay, said that “Our appreciation to the concerned civilian who tipped the troops that led to the arrest of Hasim”.
“This is an evidence that even the locals denounce the presence of terrorist group in their communities. 102nd Infantry Brigade will continue to hunt down the remaining terrorist who are planning to conduct atrocities in the area”, Gaerlan added.
For his part, Major General Roberto Ancan, the 1st Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Zampelan (Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao Provinces) commander, lauded the troops and the concerned civilian for the successful arrest of the ASG bomber.
“Trust, confidence and support of civilians, stakeholders and local government units to our troops will result into a successful law enforcement operation”, Ancan added.
“Rest assured that we will work doubly hard in order to sustain our gains in peace and development efforts in this part of Western Mindanao,” Ancan concluded. (Tabak-DPAO)