3 ASG bandits nabbed by army troops in Basilan

MANILA, Philippines  – Three Abu Sayyaf (ASG) bandits, including a minor, were nabbed by government troops that are in the midst of continuous law enforcement operations in the hinterlands of Basilan early Tuesday morning, military report said.

Troops of the 4th Scout Ranger Battalion led by LtCol Armand Arevalo were scouring the forested area in Tongsengal village in Sumisip town when they spotted the bandits in their makeshift tents at around 6:00 a.m.

“The Scout Rangers were able to crawl the bandits’ position without being detected. They did not put up a fight upon seeing that they were completely surrounded by the soldiers,” said Major Harold M Cabunoc, acting Army spokesman.

“This incident clearly shows the soldiers’ high level of discipline and genuine respect for human rights. This is part of our efforts in security sector reforms in the military wherein our soldiers are given continuous indoctrination and training on human rights and the international humanitarian law,” Cabunoc said.

The bandits were identified as Abdulbaki Ismanul, 30, Al Mahdi Arshad, 22, and a child combatant nemed Abduhaya Pantasan, 12, who claims to be a 4th grade pupil in Tongsengal village.

Three high-powered firearms were confiscated from the bandits including two M16A1 Rifles and an M14 Rifle.

The captives were brought to the military camp in Isabela City for custodial debriefing before being turned over to the local police for the filing of appropriate charges.

The soldiers have also contacted the local officials and the DSWD regarding the case of Pantasan who is a minor.

The three bandits are believed to be members of the group of Furuji Indama who is responsible for several abductions and killings in the island province.

The soldiers and the police are continuously conducting pursuit operations against the bandits.

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