Authorities arrested a lady village chief allegedly involved in the kidnapping of three foreigners and a Filipina in Samal island last year in a joint law enforcement operation on Kilometer 2, Indanan, Sulu Saturday.
Army Major Filemon Tan Jr., spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command, identified the suspect as Fauzia Abdulla, chairperson of Barangay Niyog Sangahan, Talipao, Sulu.
Tan said Abdulla was arrested at about 11:15 a.m. by the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines for kidnapping with homicide in connection with the 2015 kidnapping of Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, and Filipina Marites Flor from a resort in Samal Island.
Tan said the suspect was arrested through a warrant of arrest issued by Judge Dax Gonzaga Xenos of the 11th Judicial Regional Branch 34 of Panabo City.
Tan said Abdulla was reportedly coddling ASG members by providing sanctuary, information network, food, and managed and provided leadership especially in decision making. Abdulla was taken to the Sulu police provincial office for proper documentation and processing.
Brig. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu, said, the arrest of Abdulla is a major blow in the leadership of the ASG.
“The ASG’s information network, command, and decision making will be severely affected with the arrest of a major figure inside their leadership,” Dela Vega said.
The four kidnap victims were taken to Sulu by the Abu Sayyaf Group after the kidnapping.
Ridsdel and Hall were beheaded after their families failed to pay ransom while Flor and Sekkingstad were released last September. (Francis T. Wakefield)