SANDAKAN (22 Ogos) – Philippine security forces have detained a member of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) who was involved in the kidnapping of Taiwanese tourist from Pom Pom Island Resort, Semporna in 2013.
The arrested ASG member was identified as Fahar Ismael alias Putoh Taron. The Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) reported that Ismael was arrested by joint military and policemen at a checkpoint last week in the village of Timbangan, Indanan, Sulu.
He was reported to be a member of the group of gunmen responsible for the kidnapping of Taiwanese national Chang An Wei @ Evelyn Chan from Pom Pom Island Resort on 15 Nov 2013.
Chang was holidaying with her husband Lee Min Hsu when heavily armed militants stormed their villa. The gunmen who wore ski masks, shot her husband dead before abducting her and taking her by boat to Jolo.
Fahar Ismael is the third member of the group who were involved in Chang’s abduction nearly four years ago, to be captured or killed by the Philippine security forces since March 2017.
He is also believed to be involved in the kidnapping of Filipino engineer Marso Salinas. Meanwhile, the Philippine security forces also arrested seven men during an operation in the town of Lugus, Sulu on August 18.
Seized from them were three M-14 rifles, two M-16 rifles, an M1 Garand rifle, a .45 Caliber pistol, six clips for Garand rifle, assorted magazines, 13 magazines for M16, assorted ammunition, and assorted ammunition pouches and uniforms.
The suspects and firearms were turned over to Sulu Provincial Police Office for further actions. The Philippine military said Ismael has an arrest warrant for murder as co-accused of his leader, Idang Susukan.
On March 14, Abu Sayyaf sub-commander Buchoy Hassan also known as Black or Bocoi was killed after resisting arrest by Philippine security forces in Tawi-Tawi.
Buchoy was one of the wanted persons in Malaysia for his involvement in the Pom Pom Island Resort kidnapping. Another Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) sub-commander Badong Muktadil was killed during a firefight with Philippine security forces in the waters off Barangay Silangkan, Parang in Sulu early Aug 13.
Badong who had six warrants for his arrest, was also wanted by the Malaysian authorities for his involvement in the abduction of Chang and the murder of Lee, and the sea jacking of a Vietnamese vessel MV Giang Hai off Pearl Bank, Tawi-Tawi, on Feb 19.