Assistant of Abu Sayyaf leader Sawadjaan nabbed in Zamboanga – police

Police said Sunday they arrested the alleged right-hand man of Abu Sayyaf leader Mundi Sawadjaan in Zamboanga City, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Camilo Pancratius Cascolan said Monday.

Cascolan identified the suspect as Hashim Saripada, also known as Ibnu Kashir Saripada, at a press briefing in Camp Crame. Regional Intelligence Unit – IX and the 84th Special Action Company (Seaborne) operatives arrested Saripada at Barangay Recodo.

The PNP chief said Saripada’s arrest would significantly affect Sawadjaan’s side. Sawadjaan was believed to be the mastermind of the bombings in Sulu province, as Saripada serves as his assistant in launching attacks.

“Saripada is the assistant, cohort of Mundi Sawadjaan. This will be a very, very big blow on him because nawalan siya ng isang pinagkakatiwalaan and this one is actually his assistant, so karamihan ng kaniyang mga activities ngayon, hindi na matutuloy. He knows na mino-monitor na siya ng lahat ng intelligence and anti-terrorism units,” Cascolan said, referring to Sawadjaan.

“He assists him in all operations, gumagawa ng mga IEDs (improvised explosive device), at lahat ng mga strategies niya naka-based din kay Saripada,” he added.

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Assistant of Abu Sayyaf leader Sawadjaan nabbed in Zamboanga

Honorable Danilo Bucoy of the Regional Trial Court Branch 2 of Isabela, issued an arrest warrant against Saripada over for the crimes of multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder, Cascolan said.

The PNP chief said Saripada and Sawadjaan made the improvised explosive device (IED) used by the Indonesian couple who bombed a Sunday Mass at Jolo Cathedral on Sulu Island in January 2019.

The killed at least 20 people and injured dozens more.

Cascolan also said Saripada was involved on July 31, 2018, bombing a CAFGU detachment at Sitio Magkawit, Barangay Maganda, in Lamitan Basilan. A Moroccan bomber identified as Abu Kathir Al-Maghirbi carried out the attack, which killed 11 individuals.

The police confiscated a hand grenade and other materials for making IEDs during Saripada’s arrest.

The alleged assistant of Abu Sayyaf leader Sawadjaan was being monitored for a long time, police said.