Cops arrest Abu Sayyaf 'spotter' in Zamboanga

By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.

May 12, 2018, 6:46 pm

ZAMBOANGA CITY — An alleged spotter of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), who was also implicated in the killing of 14 marine troops 10 years ago, was arrested in police operations in this city, an official said Saturday.

Chief Supt. Billy Beltran, Police Regional Office-9 (PRO-9) director, identified the arrested ASG spotter as Aizar Latip, who carries the aliases of Christopher Palomar, Abu Utchung, and Abu Husni.

Beltran said Latip, a member of the Basilan-based ASG, was arrested around 6 a.m. Friday near a restaurant along R.T. Lim Boulevard, Barangay San Jose-Cawa-Cawa, this city.

Beltran said Latip was arrested while he “was tasked to monitor all possible targets for kidnapping in Zamboanga City.”

Beltran said Latip has standing warrant of arrest for six-count kidnapping and serious illegal detention cases with no recommended bail for his involvement in the raid of a plantation 16 years ago in Lantawan, Basilan.

In that incident, the Abu Sayyaf bandits seized 15 plantation workers when they raided on June 11, 2001 the Golden Harvest plantation in Barangay Tairan, Lantawan.

Five of the 15 workers were beheaded by the bandits while the remaining 10 have either escaped or rescued by pursuing military forces.

Beltran said Latip was also involved in the kidnapping of Italian priest, Fr. Gian Carlo Bossi, on June 10, 2007 in Barangay Bulawan, Payao, Zamboanga Sibugay. The suspect was also involved in the kidnapping of businessman Larry Tam Delos Santos on December 16, 2010 in Farmland Resort in Barangay Lanote, Isabela City, Basilan.

He said Latip has also participated in the July 10, 2007 ambush of marine troops in Barangay Guinanta, Al-Barka, Basilan, resulting to the death of 14 marines troops, 10 of them beheaded, and nine others injured.

Beltran said Latip is a follower of Basilan-based ASG sub-leader known as “Commander Abogao.”

He was temporarily placed under the custody of 904th Mobile Company of Regional Mobile Force Battalion-9 for proper disposition. (PNA)