Sayyaf gunrunner arrested
QUEZON CITY – Philippine police said it arrested a man who was allegedly selling weapons and ammunition to the Abu Sayyaf during a raid in San Juan City.
Police chief Ronald dela Rosa presented the suspected gunrunner, Unding Kenneth Isa, a native of Indanan town in Sulu, to the media at the national police headquarters.
He said the man was arrested on September 24 in his house in West Crame village along with three other people who were later released by the police after finding no evidence to link them to the gunrunning activities of Isa.
Dela Rosa also presented to the journalists the cache of automatic weapons, including M203 and grenade launchers, they seized from Isa.
Most of the munitions have markings “Department of National Defense, Government Arsenal” which prompted Dela Rosa to order a thorough investigation to determine how these weapons and ammunition ended up in Isa’s custody.
Dela Rosa, quoting an initial report from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, said Isa and another suspect identified only as “Wahid”, who is still atlarge, were selling illegal weapons to the Abu Sayyaf and other armed groups in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
The weapons were being shipped in private vehicles from Manila to Zamboanga, then to the Abu Sayyaf in the province.
Isa also admitted to the police that he ran independently for vice governor in Sulu in the May 2016 elections, but lost. Police said Isa’s gunrunning activities also intensified before the elections.
Dela Rosa said some Abu Sayyaf members have travelled to Manila and joined Isa and Wahid to buy weapons, especially M203 and M14 rifles, and components for explosives and smuggled them to Sulu and Basilan provinces in an effort to strengthen their terror activities and ransom kidnappings.
He said Isa, who owns a small garment business, also managed to secure police permits for his 4 guns, but these are likely to be revoked following his arrest. Dela Rosa said Isa is facing criminal charges for violating the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act and for illegal possession of explosives.
Police photo shows Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa and Unding Kenneth Isa during a news conference recently in Quezon City. (Mindanao Examiner)
Police photos show Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa and Unding Kenneth Isa during a news conference recently in Quezon City. (Mindanao Examiner)