Marines capture 2 Abus in Tawi-Tawi
The Abu Sayyaf group is notorious for kidnappings, beheadings and deadly bombings. Philstar.com/File photo
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Marine troops captured two Abu Sayyaf members following robbery attempt Wednesday in a village of Panglima Sugala, Tawi-Tawi.
Brig. Gen. Custodio Parcon Jr., commander of the Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi, said troops from the Marine Battalion Landing Team 9 launched the operations following reports of the villagers about the presence of the armed group in Barangay Batu-Batu exacting harvest cuts and money.
Parcon said the troops launched the operations Wednesday dawn and caught by surprise the militants which left two of its members captured while the rest managed to scamper and escape.
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Parcon identified the captured suspects as Merson Arak Garim and his brother Rustom.
Civilians reported to the Marines in the area that the Abu Sayyaf group armed with M16 and .30 caliber rifles were frequenting their place and extorting fishermen and coconut farmers in Barangay Balimbing.
He said the militants even established its harbor area in Barangay Batu-Batu, Panglima Sugala town.
Local officials have warned the group to leave the area but did not follow.
Police and military were checking if the group was involved in the abduction of two European birdwatchers, Swiss national Lorenzo Vinciguerra and Dutch national Ewold Horn, in the same area in 2012.
Vinciguerra escaped after months in captivity in Sulu while his companion, Horn, is still being held as hostage.
The Garims and the seized items were brought to the Panglima Sugala Municipal Police Station for proper disposition and their firearms were then turned over to the MBLT9 for safekeeping.
The military said that as of July 26, at least 72 Abu Sayyaf bandits were apprehended by the Joint Task Forces in Western Mindanao. Of this, 11 were nabbed in Basilan, 43 in Sulu, seven in Tawi-Tawi and 11 in Zamboanga.