Two alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf Group were arrested by the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force in separate counter-terrorism operations in Basilan Friday.
PNP chief Police Gen. Debold Sinas identified the suspects as Ranger Siason, of Purok 1, Barangay Aguada, Isabela City, Basilan; and Munjiral Kabole, of Barangay Saluping, Tabuan-Lasa, Basilan.
Police Brig. Gen. Bernabe Balba, acting director of the PNP-SAF, said a team of SAF troopers along with local intelligence and police units collared Siason after a cache of explosives was found in his house when they issued a search warrant against him during the wee hours.
The search warrant was issued by Judge Leo Jay Principe, presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court Branch 1 of Isabela City.
According to police, Siason is an ASG associate in Basilan who is responsible for the procurement and transportation of explosives and ammunition of the group.
He is also being sought for his alleged involvement in the massacre of nine people and burning of several houses during an ASG attack in Barangay Tubigan, Maluso, Basilan on Aug. 1, 2017.
Found inside Siason’s house were two fragmentation grenades, two 40-mm high explosive shells, 30 rounds of 5.56-mm rifle ammunition, four kilos of ammonium nitrate-fuel oil (ANFO) explosives, six caliber .50 shells, and a Daesh flag.
Kabole was served with a warrant of arrest for kidnapping and serious illegal detention by SAF troopers, PNP-Intelligence Group, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Marines, and Basilan provincial police inside his house around 4:45 a.m.
The arrest warrant was issued by Judge Danilo Bucoy of the RTC Branch 2 of Isabela City.
Police said that Kabole is a principal suspect in the kidnapping of one Hja Sadday Jalal in Sumisip, Basilan in 2009.
Kabole, whom police said is under the command of ASG sub-leader Pasil Bayali, is also accused of being involved in a series of attacks against police and military forces in Basilan.
Sinas commended the operating units for their “effective execution” of the counter-terrorism operations as he ordered the entire police force to intensify law enforcement operations against domestic threats, particularly ASG, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and the communist New People’s Army (NPA).
Police said that criminal charges will be filed against Siason for illegal possession of explosives and ammunition while Kabole will be presented to the court for the procedural return of the warrant.