Brigadier General Reynaldo Ramirez, deputy chief of the Philippine military’s Western Mindanao Command in Zamboanga City, awarded some P1.45 million on Wednesday, April 29, 2009 to four masked Filipino informants for helping soldiers arrest four Abu Sayyaf terrorists in separate operations last year in Basilan and Sulu provinces, where the group tied to al-Qaeda and Jemaan Islamiya is still holding a kidnapped Italian aid worker Eugenio Vagni in Sulu and a Sri Lankan peace advocate in Basilan.
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 29, 2009) – Philippine authorities on Wednesday rewarded some P1.45 million to four informants who helped soldiers capture Abu Sayyaf militants implicated in terrorism and kidnappings of foreigners and Filipino in the troubled South.
The four masked informants were guarded by soldiers inside the Western Mindanao Command where security officials handed over the reward. Officials said the four men helped capture Ersad Sabong, Salim Mas-ud Tanjal, Jul Akram Maron Hadjail and Abdulkab Balahim in Basilan and Sulu provinces.
Officials said Sabong was involved in the 2001 kidnappings of 21 mostly Western and Asian holidaymakers in the Malaysian resort island of Sipadan and dozens of people in Basilan.
The others were also implicated by the military and police authorities to ambuscades of soldiers, including the beheading of ten marines in Basilan in 2007.
Brigadier General Reynaldo Ramirez, deputy chief of the military’s Western Mindanao Command in Zamboanga City, awarded the bounties to the four informants.
Army First Lieutenant Steffani Cacho, a spokeswoman for the military command, said those captured are facing a string of criminal charges.
“The arrest of the four Abu Sayyaf members was the results of the participation of civilians who are providing us information about these terrorists,” she told reporters, adding, the rewards came from the Philippine government.
Abu Sayyaf militants, whose group is tied to the Al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya, are still holding a kidnapped Italian aid worker Eugenio Vagni in Sulu province and a Sri Lankan peace advocate in Basilan.
The United States is also offering as much as $5 million for the capture of known Abu Sayyaf leaders.
Washington has in the past paid millions of dollars in bounties for the killing and capture of Abu Sayyaf militants under the Rewards for Justice Program. (With a report from Jung Francisco)