Two alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf group were arrested by police authorities in Barangay Ilang, Bunawan District Wednesday night.
Col. Alexander Tagum, the director of Davao City Police Office (DCPO), identified the suspects as Haider Arasani Anjawang, 31, married, of Sitio Kapok, Barangay Panglayahan, Patikul, Sulu, and Al Fasal Abubakar Hassan, 40, married, of Ayel Village, Barangay Santa Barbara, Zamboanga City.
Tagum said the two ASG members were arrested in connection with the police’s One Time Big Time, an anti-criminality and terrorist clearing operation.
Armed with an arrest warrant, Tagum said the raiding team, composed of operatives from the Bunawan Police Station, the Intelligence Team of the Mindanao Area Police Intelligence Office (MAPIO), the Regional Intelligence Unit and the DCPO’s Intelligence Branch, conducted the operation in Purok 4, Upper Ilang around 8:10 p.m. Wednesday.
Anjawang is facing a frustrated murder case. Judge Ambrosio de Luna of Regional Trial Court-Branch 51 in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan issued the warrant. Details of the case were not stated.
During the arrest, Tagum said they recovered a caliber .45, with a magazine loaded with five live ammunitions, and one fragmentation grenade from the possession of Anjawang.
The police said they also arrested Hassan for possessing a fragmentation grenade.
Tagum said they are now preparing charges against Anjawang and Hassan.
Brig. Gen. Marcelo Morales, the Police Regional Office XI director, confirmed that Anjawang is an active ASG member. He said they have close circuit television (CCTV) footages to link Anjawang with the ASG.
But the police director allayed fears of any terroristic attack in the city.
“You (the public) have nothing to worry because we are doing our best to protect the people,” Morales said.
He said the two suspects have no plan for any terroristic activity in the city. But they could have brought their firearms for self-defense.
Morales said the two arrived in the city, not just to escape arrest in Patikul, Sulu, but probably to hide and possibly establish a safe house here.
But the “good relationship” of the police and the Muslim communities put an end to their plan, the police general told reporters in an interview.
“They (local Muslim leaders and residents) don’t tolerate their Muslim brothers who are involved in criminal activities,” Morales said. “That is why they are coordinating with the police.”
He said the police intelligence operatives received information that there were two suspicious persons coming from Panabo, Davao del Norte, who were bound to Davao city.
Based on the investigation, the suspects stayed for two days in Panabo City, Davao del Norte before moving to the city on Wednesday night.
After establishing the identity of one of the suspects, police secured a copy of the pending warrant of arrest that led to the raid.
Morales said they are still investigating how the two suspects were able to gain entry in the city, despite the strict military checkpoint.
In an interview at the Bunawan police station, the two denied they were ASG members.
They also denied bringing firearms or grenade.
The two claimed they only sideline as security.
“In fact, we used to secure Ma’am Sara (Mayor Sara Duterte) and Sir Bato (Ronald Del Rosa) when they went to Sulu,” said Anjawang who claimed to be a construction worker.
“They (police) can verify in our place (Patikul), they can go there,” he said. He, however, admitted he has a pending frustrated murder case.
Hassan said Anjawang’s cousin asked them to go to Cagayan de Oro City to provide security.