ILIGAN CITY, Philippines – Members of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT) of Barangay Loksadatu, in Marawi City, arrested Wednesday, November 1, an Indonesian national whose name is under a government list of people linked to the Maute group.
Police Senior Superintendent John Guygoyan, Provincial Director of Lanao del Sur Provincial Police Office, identified the foreigner as Mohammad Ilham Syahputra, a resident of Medan, a city in the Indonesian province of North Sumatra.
According to Guygoyan, Syahputra admits that he came to the Philippines in November 2016 and went straight to Marawi City as intellegence officer of Abu Sayaff leader Isnilon Hapilon, the anointed ’emir’ of ISIS in Southeast Asia, who also led the attack in the predominantly Muslim city.
“He doesn’t speak English but he knows a little of Tagalog,” Guygoyan said of Syahputra.
Guygoyan said Syahputra claimed he is a member of ISIS in Indonesia.
Syahputra, according to police investigation, left the main battle area few days ago to escape from a tunnel where he was hiding with other remnant fighters.
The Indonesian national sustained gun shot wounds on his stomach and some bruises on the rest of his body, said Guygoyan.
Guygoyan said Syaphutra admitted to police that his other companions “are still inside” but did not determine whether those were fighers or hostages they turned into fighters.
The military said male hostages were forced by the ISIS-inspired Maute group to bring firearms and fight against the government forces as the battle became intense.
“The arrest of Syahputra is a big blow against our enemies. With this, they should know that terrorists are not welcome here at hindi natin sila papayagang magkalat,” Guygoyan added.
Zia Alonto Adiong, Lanao del Sur provincial crisis management spokesperson, said the latest development validates the position of the local government that civilian participation is essential in the collective effort to secure their communities from terrorist elements.
“Crucial in our security effort to fully restore normalcy in the controlled area is to maintain vigilance by our residents,” Adiong said in a statement sent to the media. (davaotoday.com)