3 Abu Sayyaf members arrested in Palawan

By RJ Rosalado, ABS-CBN News Zamboanga

Posted at Jun 19 2015 06:13 PM | Updated as of Jun 20 2015 02:13 AM

ZAMBOANGA - Three suspected members of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) operating in the Basilan-Sulu-Tawi-tawi (BASULTA) area were arrested in Sitio Bagong Buhay, Barangay Sumbiling in Bataraza, Palawan Thursday.

Colonel Alan Arrojado, commander of Joint Task Group Sulu, identified the three suspected bandits as Alnaser Sawadjaan, Jardin Hajuli, and Alig Pandah. All three are from Sulu.

The three were invited for questioning during a joint patrol of policemen and soldiers in Barangay Sumbiling after they acted suspiciously.

After further investigation, it was revealed that the three are allegedly active members of ASG, under the command of ASG sub-commander Muammar Askali.

Askali has been involved in some kidnapping incidents in Zamboanga and Sulu, including the abduction of two German nationals, Stefan Viktor Okonek, and Henrite Dielen in 2014.

He was also tagged in the twin explosions in Sulu police headquarters last month, where at least 17 policemen and civilians were wounded.

Sawadjaan is the son of former ASG sub-commander Jul Asman Sawadjaan, who was involved in the abduction of Jordanian journalist Baker Atyani and his Filipino crew in June 2012. Atyani was released after 18 months in captivity.

Arrojado said a caliber .45 pistol was recovered from one of the three suspects.

He added that the three may have been planning to abduct a certain individual in Palawan, monitoring the target's daily routine when they were arrested.

The three suspects are currently under the custody of the police for further interrogation.