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Cops foil ASG mission to create havoc in Zambo, arrest 3 members

Zamboanga City — Three members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) were arrested by the police Monday afternoon at a pension house, while the city was in the middle of celebrating the Feast of Nuestra Señora La Virgen del Pilar which attracts large crowds from around the country.

The mission of the three men was to create havoc in the city and to kidnap a wealthy Filipino-Chinese trader, police said. The three men were under Jolo-based Commander Alhapsi Misaya who is involved in many incidents of kidnapping foreigners and bombing incidents in Zamboanga City and other neighboring provinces.

Police Regional Office for Zamboanga peninsula (PRO-9) Director Chief Supt Billy Beltran identified the arrested ASG members as Abdel Dela Cruz, 27, of Jolo, Sulu; Jabar Ignohasim, 24, of Bus-bus, Jolo Sulu; and Abdulla Yusup, 27, of Talipao, Sulu.

The three were arrested at the entrance of Atilano Pension House located at Barangay Canelar Street at about 2:45 p.m., Monday.

Reports reaching Beltran indicated that the three were tasked to create havoc by hurling grenades along the RT Lim Boulevard. They were also on a mission to kidnap a wealthy Filipino-Chinese businessman who is a resident of this city.

According to the police, the three suspects arrived in this city Monday before sunrise on board a passenger vessel “Katrina.” Police agents were able to trace them when they checked in at Salwa Hotel and Atilano’s Pension House.

However, the men observed the presence of authorities and moved to Atilano’s Pension House, where they were later arrested.

One of the ASG men, the 27-year-old Dela Cruz, is wanted for murder under criminal case number 1989-3 issued by Judge Betlee-Ian J Barraquias, presiding judge, RTC, 9th Judicial Region, Branch 3 in Jolo, Sulu, Beltran said.

Recovered from the possession of Dela Cruz were one Cal. 45 pistol loaded with five rounds of live ammunition and three magazine loaded with five rounds of ammunitions each, he added.

The police also confiscated from the possession of Ignohasim a backpack containing three hand grenades, detonating cord, time fuse and two pieces of non-electric blasting caps, Beltran said.

Yusop, the third ASG man, had a bag containing one grenade.

The ASG suspects and the recovered items were brought to the Zamboanga City Police Office for further investigation and proper disposition.