Military: Arrested Abu bandit is Hapilon's close aide

Bong Garcia

THE alleged Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) member arrested in Zamboanga City is a Jemaah Islamiyah-trained bomb expert and a close aide of ASG leader Isnilon Hapilon, a military official said on Sunday, June 18.

“The subject [Hamsi Amajad Marani] is a notorious member of the ASG, and is a trained bomber by an Indonesian Jemaah Islamiyah bomb expert,” said Colonel Leonel Nicolas, Joint Task Force Zamboanga commander, citing the bomb-making materials recovered from Marani’s possession.

Hamsi Amajad Marani alias Hamsi was arrested by joint military and police operatives around 1:30 a.m. Saturday, June 17, at Sitio Niyog-Niyog in the village of Muti, Zamboanga City.

Marani, although not the primary subject, was arrested in a law enforcement operation after the troops’ informant recognized him as member of the ASG.

The troops were serving a warrant of arrest to Asbi Ahaddin, who is charged with attempted murder. Ahaddin managed to elude arrest.

Western Mindanao Command chief Carlito Galvez Jr. said the arrest of Marani will somehow crippled any possible support being given to Hapilon, who struggles to flee from Marawi City.

Hapilon is fighting against the government forces alongside with the Maute Terror Group in Marawi City.

The fighting in Marawi City, the capital of Lanao del Sur, broke out when the Maute bandits went berserk and occupied several establishments when the government forces raided on May 23 the hideout of Hapilon in the area.