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Zambo on high alert as 26 Abu Sayyaf men moved to local jail


The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) is on high alert status with the arrival of 26 suspected Abu Sayyaf detainees from the Basilan Provincial Jail to the Zamboanga City Jail in this city Wednesday afternoon.

City Mayor Celso Lobregat, Chief of Police Sr. Supt Edwin de Ocampo and Jail Warden Inspector Julius Arro are all against the transfer of these 26 suspects, as 24 others are expected to arrive in the coming days.

Insp. Arro explained that the transfer of the 50 detainees from Basilan are all covered by a Supreme Court order.

Mayor Lobregat said he already wrote Regional State Prosecutor Peter Medalle to question the transfer of these 50 alleged Abu Sayyaf suspects from Basilan to the local reformatory.

Insp. Arro said the local jail is already crowded with 1,120 detainees to include some 30 “high risk suspects” of crimes such as kidnapping, drug lords, murder and rape.

The mayor argued that there are other bigger facilities where these 50 alleged terrorists can be accommodated such as the Bicutan facility in Manila.

On the other hand, Acting City Police Director De Ocampo said the transfer of these suspected Abu Sayyaf suspects to Zamboanga will provide added work to the local police force as the command will be forced to deploy more policemen inside the jail facility to assist jail guards.

He warned that these detainees from Basilan could pose risks to the jail itself and the adjoining community since the city jail is within the city proper, less than a kilometer from city hall, adjacent to a big elementary school and big commercial establishments.

Like the mayor, the city jail warden said these Abu Sayyaf suspects/detainees should instead be sent to the Bicutan national penitentiary rather than to Zamboanga since the city jail is already congested.

These detainees in Basilan are facing court cases in that province and sending them to Zamboanga will just complicate security matters at the local jail, he said.


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