A MEMBER of the terrorist Abu Sayyaf group involved in a recent kidnapping of a Filipino-American farmer was arrested Tuesday in Zamboanga City while his immediate superior, Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Injam Yadah, evaded arrest.
Maj. Ronaldo Lumactod, spokesman of the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG), identified the arrested bandit as Anerson Tungayao, a resident of Barangay Tapanaya in Sirawai, Zamboanga del Norte.
Lumactod said Tungayao was nabbed by AKG operatives, backed by other police and military units, at around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the shoreline of Barangay Arena Blanco.
He said Tungayao and Yadah were spotted by the government troops in the area “preparing for possible kidnapping operation and seen armed with high-powered firearms.”
Lumactod said Tungayao was cornered and subsequently arrested by the troops but Yadah, who he said was the primary target of the operation, managed to evade arrest.
AKG director Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo said Tungayao and Yadah were behind the September 16 kidnapping of Filipino-American farmer Rex Triplitt in Barangay Tapanayan, Sirawai. Triplitt’s wife was able to escape and reported the incident to authorities.
Triplitt was rescued by joint military and police forces after a brief firefight with his Abu Sayyaf captors in Barangay Pisa Itom, also in Sirawai on September 30. No one was hurt in the encounter.
Estomo said Tungayao’s arrest foiled a planned kidnapping of the Abu Sayyaf.
Estomo said the Abu Sayyaf members usually disguise themselves as construction workers when they kidnap and extort money from victims, who are mostly local businessmen in the Zamboanga Peninsula area.