Sayyaf commander, aide arrested in Zamboanga hospital
ZAMBOANGA CITY – Police and military authorities arrested a notorious Abu Sayyaf commander - who was wounded in a battle with security forces in Sulu province - at a private hospital in Zamboanga City where he is undergoing medical operation, officials said Tuesday.
Officials said Hairulla Asbang alias Ahadi – implicated in the September 2015 kidnappings of 2 Canadians and a Norwegian from a posh resort on Samal Island in southern Philippines - was arrested along with his bodyguard on Saturday evening at the Zamboanga Peninsula Medical Center.
Asbang travelled to Zamboanga City by boat after escaping the military in Sulu, one of 5 provinces under the Muslim autonomous region, where his group clashed with security forces.
The military’s Western Mindanao Command has confirmed Asbang’s arrest. The rebel leader is heavily guarded to prevent him from escaping or stop the Abu Sayyaf from rescuing him.
Authorities did not say how it managed to track down Asbang, but hospital guards usually report to the police the presence of gunshot victims.
Asbang is facing a string of criminal charges ranging from kidnappings to murders and military and police interrogators were all ready to question him and get more information about the Abu Sayyaf which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
The rebel group is still holding more than 2 dozen Asian hostages in southern Philippines where it continues to elude a massive military operation - ordered by President Duterte - aimed at dismantling its capability to conduct cross-border raids in Sabah in Malaysia. (Mindanao Examiner)