ZAMBOANGA CITY – Security forces on Wednesday arrested the alleged leader of a notorious kidnap-for-ransom group and his four followers in an operation in Parañaque City.
Chief Inspector Alexander Lorenzo, chief of the police’s Philippine Center for Transnational Crime in Western Mindanao, identified the suspected kidnap gang leader as Mamay Aburi.
Lorenzo said the suspects were arrested by joint elements of the police and the military in a safehouse along Antonio Avenue at around noon Wednesday.
The suspects were arrested by virtue of a warrant on the charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
Lorenzo said Aburi was able to elude arrest during a raid at his safehouse in Barangay Tenan, Ipil town, Zamboanga Sibugay last March 8. Two of Aburi’s other followers were captured in the raid.
He said Aburi’s group is based in Zamboanga City and is believed to be involved in a series of kidnapping, including that of Australian national Warren Richard Rodwell, who is married to a Filipina.
Lorenzo said that aside from Rodwell, Aburi’s group was also responsible in the kidnapping of public school teacher Cathy Mae Casipong, 23, who was abducted last December 18, in waters off an island east of this city and released only on March 11 in Ipil town.
Casipong was supposed to be released by the group three days earlier, but the raid on their safehouse last March 8 delayed it.
Lorenzo said military and police intelligence operatives have been tracking down Aburi’s group.
He said they received information that the group went to Metro Manila to elude the intensified hunt against them.
“It seems the groups were using Manila as their R&R (rest and recreation),” he said.