A suspected Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) member who was charged in the 2001 kidnapping of workers from the Golden Harvest plantation in Basilan has been arrested in Quezon City, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) announced on Wednesday, Sept. 15.
NBI Officer-in-Charge Director Eric B. Distor identified the arrested fugitive as Albazair Abdulla, also known by the alias “Abu Saif.”
In a statement, the NBI said that “due to continued monitoring, the NBI-CTD (Counter Terrorism Division) was able to track down and apprehend a number of ASG members who blended in the society.”
It said that Abdulla was arrested in Salam Compound in Barangay Culiat, Quezon City last Sept. 10 by agents of the NBI-CTD which served an arrest warrant issued by the regional trial court (RTC) of Basilan.
“The arrested ASG member was then brought to NBI Detention Facility,” it also said.
The NBI said the operation was conducted after the NBI-CTD received information that Abdulla has been spotted in Salam Compound. “A victim-witness identified Abu Saif in a CTD photo line-up as one of the abductors and a member of the ASG,” it said.
“A series of casing and surveillance operations was conducted by the NBI-CTD in coordination with counterparts from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), to gather more information which revealed the actual residence of Abu Saif,” it added.
In 2001, the ASG — headed by their late leader Isnilon Hapilon and other senior ASG leaders — raided the Golden Harvest Plantation in Barangay Tairan, Lantawan, in Basilan Province.
The NBI said “the terrorist group seized the supplies from sari-sari stores and houses, and livestock, firearms and ammunition from the plantation security.”
It also said “the ASG burned the chapel and detained 14 plantation workers, two (2) of whom were beheaded by the terrorist group.”
After four months of captivity, the victims were able to escape on separate occasions from their captors during the rescue operations by government security forces, it added.