ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (UPDATE) – An alleged member of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) involved in a series of bombing incidents was nabbed in a village in Zamboanga City on Tuesday, authorities said.
Suspect Hussein Ahaddin, a habal-habal (motorcycle-for-hire) driver from Barangay Muti in Zamboanga, was presented by authorities to media on Wednesday morning.
Ahaddin was collared by joint operatives of the Philippine Center for Transnational Crime, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Philippine National Police-Special Action Force and Directorate for Integrated Police Operations (DIPO) in his residence at Purok 4, Muti village at about 8 p.m. on Tuesday.
DIPO Western Mindanao Director Felicisimo Khu Jr. said Ahaddin has an arrest warrant for his involvement in twin bombings in Zamboanga City on October 17, 2002. The explosives were placed in the baggage counter of two department stores.
The blast killed 7 people and wounded over 150 others.
Khu added that Ahaddin, who carries the alias “Abu Tiih,” is also implicated in the Malagutay bombing on October 2, 2002, which killed a US serviceman and 3 Filipino civilians and wounded 25 others.
He is allegedly involved in another incident of twin explosions on August 10, 2005 at a jeepney loading area along Campaner Street and a fast-food outlet along Climaco Avenue in Zamboanga. The separate blasts injured more than 30 people.
Ahaddin is also linked to separate blasts last October 9 at the Red Palm Pension in Barangay Guiwan and at the San Roque cockpit.
Ahaddin’s group is also alleged as the perpetrators in the explosion and planting of other improvised explosive devices in Barangay Sangali last October 26 that killed one and wounded 6 others.
Authorities said Ahaddin also had a hand in the most recent explosion at the Atilano Pension House in Barangay Canelar on Sunday night, which left 3 people dead and 27 injured.
Khu, however, noted that this information is still being validated and they are waiting for witnesses to give their testimonies to back the allegations.
Ahaddin is allegedly a close follower of Abu Sayyaf leader Ustadz Abdullah Ajijul alias “Abu Termijie” and Amilhamja Ajijul alias “Abu Alex Alvarez.” Both leaders have been neutralized.
Ahaddin denies accusations
Ahaddin has denied the accusations against him.
Meanwhile, Ahaddin's sister Rukaya Asnawi admitted that her husband is a cousin of Hadji Dan Laksaw Asnawi, the deputy commander of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
However, Rukaya stressed that her husband is not involved in any of Asnawi's activities.
Asnawi is currently being hunted down by authorities over the beheading of marine soldiers in Al-Barka, Basilan in 2007 and the slaying of 19 army troopers last October.