Inside out

Random musings in and outside the news

3 cops, 4 others charged over ICRC abduction

Posted by Abi Kwok on April 6, 2009

By Abigail Kwok
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 16:25:00 04/06/2009

MANILA, Philippines—Seven people, including three policemen, have been charged with kidnapping for ransom and serious illegal detention charges for the kidnapping of three International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) workers in the province of Sulu, a police spokesperson said on Monday.

In a phone interview, Superintendent Jose Bayani Gucela, spokesperson of Directorate for Integrated Police Operations (DIPO) in Western Mindanao, identified the seven suspects as Senior Police Officer 3 Muhilmi Ismula of the Sulu Provincial Police Operations Intelligence Section; PO2 Marcial Ahajan of the Indanan Municipal Police Office; SPO1 Sattal Jadjuli of Patikul municipal police; Kanaway, Parang village chief Alano Mohammad; Sawaki, Indanan village chief Julhassan Awadi; Hadjirul Bambra; and Ibnogajir Hadjirul.

In a separate report from the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao police, Bambra and Hadjirul were reported to be suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf group.

Gucela said the seven were arrested last April 2 by elements of Task Force Comet following eyewitness accounts that they were “identified by witnesses as people behind or supported the kidnapping and who provided financial and logistical support to the kidnappers.”

ICRC workers Mary Jean Lacaba, Eugenio Vagni, and Andreas Notter were abducted by members of the Abu Sayyaf last January 15.

Lacaba was released on April 2.

Gucela said that the suspects were related to Abu Sayyaf leaders either by “blood or marriage.”

Ismula, for example, is reportedly the nephew (not first cousin as earlier reported) of Albader Parad, he said.

One of the wives of PO2 Ahajan was also reportedly related to an Abu Sayyaf leader.

But Gucela said the suspects were not related directly to the kidnapping.

The seven were charged at the Zamboanga City Prosecutor’s Office on April 4.

Meanwhile, Gucela said police are yet to file charges against Albader Parad and other Abu Sayyaf leaders as they were yet to receive an affidavit from Lacaba and other media outfits who were able to take footage of Parad.

Interior and Local Government secretary Ronaldo Puno earlier said that 23 people were invited for questioning over their involvement in the kidnapping.

But Gucela said a number of these people have already been released.

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