Police tagged a previously unheard of group of former Moro rebels as the one behind the abduction on Monday of a mayor of a town in Zamboanga Sibugay province.
Senior Supt. Jose Bayani Gucela, police chief of Zamboanga Sibugay, said members of Waning Abdusalam Group (WAG) were behind the abduction of Mayor Gemma Adana of Naga town in Zamboanga Sibugay.
Chief Supt. Edgar Basbas, regional police chief for Western Mindanao, earlier told the Inquirer that the group that took
had no links with Abu Sayyaf Group
(ASG), a terror and crime group with links to the international terror network
al-Qaida and with camps mainly in Basilan and Sulu provinces. Adana
“It’s not ASG but one of the notorious groups known for their lawless operations in Zamboanga Sibugay,” Basbas said.
WAG was led by Abdulgani Abdusalam, alias “Waning,” a former commander of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Sibugay.
WAG is believed to have at least 50 followers. It was disbanded in 2011 after the death of Waning. It resurfaced in 2012 and was blamed for the kidnapping of Chinese nationals Jampong Linyuan Kai and James Lou in Kabasalan town.
Zamboanga Sibugay Gov. Wilter Palma said a certain Abner Abdusalam, a cousin of Waning Abdusalam, was seen by witnesses as among those who took the mayor.
PO2 Raymund Bango, case investigator, told the Inquirer on the phone that
and her family were having dinner when three gunmen barged into their house
shortly after 9 p.m. on Monday. Adana
Bango said the suspects forced their way through the kitchen door, took the mayor at gunpoint and forced her into a pump boat.
Quoting witnesses, Bango said two other armed men served as lookouts and another was waiting in the pump boat.
The investigator said that at the back of the mayor’s house was a swamp “that can be accessed by small boats during high tide.”
Basbas, in a separate interview, said
had one policeman as a security aide,
but the security detail had already been sent home by the mayor when the gunmen
attacked and her “captors took advantage of this.” Adana
He said, however, that he did not believe politics was the motive because
was on her last term as mayor. Adana
Earlier reports on the abduction were hazy.
On Monday night, Mayor Jesus Lim of Salug town in Zamboanga del Norte province had told the Inquirer that he, too, learned of reports that
had been abducted
from her house. Adana