ZAMBOANGA City, Philippines – Security forces on Tuesday arrested in Basilan province a suspected member of the Abu Sayyaf Group suspected of having involvement in the 2001 Lamitan siege.
Chief Superintendent Bienvenido Latag, director of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao regional police, identified the suspect as Bidung Ismael alias Ben Ismael.
Latag said Ismael was arrested by joint military and police forces in Barangay Limo-ok, Lamitan City around noon.
The regional police director said that before the arrest, police received a report that Ismael was spotted near the Lamitan City hall.
He said they immediately formed a joint team from the military and police and conducted the raid.
Ismael has a standing arrest warrant for kidnapping with serious illegal detention.
Latag said the suspect is involved in the Lamitan siege, where bandits invaded the city and took hostage medical personnel of the Jose Maria Torres Memorial Hospital.
The bandits also raided the Saint Peter’s church during the siege in June 2001.
Police have airlifted the suspect to Zamboanga City for tactical interrogation.