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Abu Sayyaf spotter nabbed

Government security forces yesterday arrested a member of the Abu Sayyaf Group involved in the abduction of retired Italian priest Rolando del Torchio and other kidnapping cases in Mindanao.

Major Filemon Tan, spokesperson, Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command, identified the suspect as Sehat Mulok, also known as “Abner Mulok” and alias “Red Eye.”

Tan said Mulok reportedly has direct links to Sulu-based ASG sub-leader Idang Susukan and is believed to be the militant group’s “eye” or “spotter” for its kidnap-for-ransom activities.

He was arrested in a joint military and police operation in Barangay Kaliantana, Naga, Zamboanga Sibugay.

“(Mulok) was arrested by the military and police by virtue of a warrant of arrest for the kidnapping of former Italian priest Rolando del Torchio,” said Tan.

Del Torchio, 57, was seized at gunpoint in his pizza restaurant in Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte in October last year. He was held captive by the ASG in Sulu before being released last April 8.

The ASG, which the United States list as a terrorist organization, is holding several foreign hostages, including Canadian Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, and Filipina Marites Flor. (Elena L. Aben)