Water request leads to Marines’ capture of ASG subleader in Tawi-tawi

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 21 March) — A simple plea for drinking water for four armed men in one of the coastal villages in Languyan town in Tawi-Tawi, led to the capture of an Abu Sayyaf Group subleader by the military on Saturday evening.

ASG subleader Hajan Sahijuan, also known within his circle as Apo Mike, was initially asking for drinking water for one person but when he demanded water for three more persons and was refused for lack of supply, he stirred a commotion that alerted joint intelligence operatives of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 6 and the 2nd Marine Brigade deployed within the area in the quiet village of Kalupag on Kalupag Island, Languyan in the country’s farthest province of Tawi-Tawi.

Sahijuan was then with two other ASG members and one kidnap victim, an Indonesian national whose identity was not known, as the three managed to flee during military pursuit.

“The troops of the Marine Battalion Landing Team-6 under Lt. Col. Venjie Pendon acted on a report regarding the presence of suspicious fully-armed men in Barangay Kalupag Island. Onboard PS 35 headed by Col. Nestor Narag, Jr., the Deputy Brigade Commander of the 2nd Marine Brigade, the troops proceeded to the area but upon their arrival, the terrorists opened fire,” said Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., Commander of the Western Mindanao Commander in a press release.

Pendon said Sahijuan “was abandoned by his two comrades who fled bringing along the remaining Indonesian kidnap victim with them.”

“We executed prompt military action following the receipt of information. We are anticipating reports from the communities that is why we made sure that our assets are at high readiness. Moreover, the availability of the Philippine Navy surface assets like PS 35 and 3 MPACs was crucial,” said Brig. Gen. Arturo Rojas, Commander of the JTF Tawi-Tawi. (Frencie L. Carreon, MindaNews)