Abu Sayyaf bandit behind Lamitan siege falls

Posted at 06/17/2014 11:55 AM | Updated as of 06/17/2014 5:22 PM

MANILA – One of the members of Abu Sayyaf Group believed to be behind the 2001 Lamitan siege has been arrested, police said.

Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz Jr., commander of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Anti-Kidnapping Task Force in Sulu, said Ameng Alam Sirul alias "Rajang'' was arrested in Lamitan, Basilan.

Cruz said Rajang took part in the 2001 Lamitan siege, where bandits invaded the city and took hostage medical personnel of the Jose Maria Torres Memorial Hospital.

Rajang was also implicated in the abduction of about 16 teachers in Isabela City, Basilan in 1994, and the killing of three coconut plantation workers in Lantawan, Basilan in 2011.

Cruz said Rajang attempted to fight the arresting officers but his efforts were thwarted.

Rajang was brought to Zamboanga City to face the charges against him. He was allegedly one of the 17 prisoners who escaped from a jail in Kidapawan, Cotabato in 2007.

One of those 17 escaped prisoners was Khair Mundos, an alleged key leader and financier of the Abu Sayyaf who recently fell into the hands of authorities.