The Armed Forces has restricted to quarters and placed under investigation four Army personnel who reportedly tortured a suspected Abu Sayyaf member who they arrested in Basilan, military officials said.

Army chief Lt. Gen. Arturo Ortiz identified the four as Capt. Sherwin Guidangen, Sgt. Edgardo Santos, Ssgt. Elmer Magdaraog, and Sgt. George Awing.

“Ni-relieve na ‘yung officer concerned saka ‘yung involved personnel, they are under investigation,” Ortiz told reporters by phone.

“They are under investigation and if necessary ipapa-court martial namin,” he added.

The four “have been placed under technical arrest and restricted to station” effective July 27, Col. Domingo Tutaan, chief of the AFP Human Rights Office, said in a press briefing.

“The purpose of the investigation is to determine whether the soldiers were involved in the torture incident, their participation, and to further look into the aspect of command responsibility,” Tutaan told reporters.

Citing field reports, Tutaan said the soldiers arrested the suspected Abu Sayyaf member on July 23 in Brgy. Libug, Sumisip, and brought him to the Army Special Operations Task Force Basilan’s headquarters, where the torture happened.

Kanneh Malikil, who is allegedly involved in a kidnapping and illegal detention case, was poured with gasoline and set to fire by soldiers of an Army Scout Ranger company, according to a report from www.luwaran.net.

“The report we received states that he was tortured, he suffered injuries in different parts of his body,” Tutaan said.

Armed Forces chief Gen. Eduardo Oban has ordered the Western Mindanao Command and the 1st Infantry Division, which have also launched their own probes into the incident, to cooperate with the local Commission on Human Rights Office and the police.

“The directive from the chief of staff also included instructions to the Western Mindanao Command to ensure the safety of the victim and the victim’s family, that no harassment or threats be made on them, considering that the victim is confined in a local hospital in Basilan,” Tutaan said. (John Roson)

– end –