ZAMBOANGA CITY – The number of escapees, who are still at-large after bolting the provincial jail here last October 13, is now down to three after another was recaptured with the help of civilians in Isabela City, Basilan, a military official announced Wednesday.
Hernie Asao, 32, of Barangay Camamburingan, Ungkaya Pukan, Basilan, was accosted by a group of residents, and took him into custody.
Lt. Col. Alex Ampati, commander of the 4th Special Forces Battalion, said Asao and another escapee, Gappal Saripada, 35, were roaming around, and approached a group of residents of Barangay Maligue, Isabela City, asking for food.
Cautious and suspicious of the presence of the strangers, a group of concerned residents gathered to interrogate the two, prompting them to resist and scamper.
Ampati said Asao was arrested by the residents, while Saripada managed to escape by running to the forest.
Ampati said troops from the 16th Special Forces Company, led by Capt. Lorefel Judaya, proceeded to Barangay Maligue to hunt down Saripada.
He said Asao was brought to the headquarters of the 4th Special Forces Basilan in Barangay Cabunbata, Isabela City, for his eventual turnover to authorities.
Asao was the fifth of eight escapees, who have been recaptured by the authorities since bolting the Basilan provincial jail in Barangay Sumagdang, Isabela City on October 13.
“There is no let up in this pursuit operation. We will exert all means possible to recapture the jailbreakers,” Ampati said.
Earlier, two escapees were neutralized by the Special Forces troops. One was nabbed on October 14 and another last Sunday.
Aside from Saripada, the other two escapees who are still at large are Albasser Ahmad, 19; and Kaliji Hadjirul, 31.
A cash reward of P100,000 is at stake for the arrest of Saripada and Hadjirul, and P200,000 for the capture of Ahmad.
“We are calling the attention of the general public here in Basilan to be vigilant and report to the nearest authority any suspicious person roaming within their vicinities,” Ampati added.