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Saturday, December 31, 2016

4 suspected MILF rebels arrested in Lanao Sur

NORTH COTABATO – Security forces arrested 4 suspected members of the rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front accused as behind the spate of ransom kidnappings in southern Philippines, officials said Saturday.
Officials said the men were tracked down in their hideout in the village of Mantapuli in Marantao town in Lanao del Sur, one of 5 provinces under the Muslim autonomous region in Mindanao.
One of those arrested, Nabil Balowa, is believed to be the gang’s leader, whose group was also implicated in the September kidnapping of gasoline station owner Clarita Belisario. The 60-year old woman was released after her family paid huge ransom to the gang.
Policemen and army soldiers who arrested the men also recovered automatic weapons, explosives, fragmentation grenades and ammunitions, including MILF identification cards and police uniforms.
Police said it is interrogating the suspects. There was no statement from the MILF, which signed an interim peace deal with Manila in 2014. (With a report from Rhoderick Beñez)

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