ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - Military troops and intelligence units captured on Wednesday an Abu Sayyaf suspect tagged in mass abductions Wednesday during a raid in a village of Isabela City, Basilan.
The military identified the arrested suspect as Ismael Cawa alias Abu Ismael, with a standing warrant of arrest for eight counts of kidnapping with serious illegal detention with ransom issued by Basilan Judge Leo Jay Principe.
Reports from the 104th Army Brigade said Cawa was initially spotted by civilian informant at Sitio Balawatin, Barangay Makiri about 10 a.m. Wednesday and alerted government troops.
Lt. Col. Eliglen Villaflor, commander of the 4th Special Forces Battalion immediately deployed his team backed by the intelligence unit and the personnel from the Basilan Provincial Police Office to verify the information. This led to the arrest of Cawa.
Cawa was caught by surprise by the overwhelming presence of the government troops who served the warrant of arrest.
The arrested Abu Sayyaf suspect is tagged in the abduction of plantation workers in Lantawan town some time in 2001 and has a possible involvement in the kidnapping of the 20 Dos Palmas tourists, including three American citizens.
The captured suspect was brought to the headquarters of the 9th Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and was placed under interrogation.