Authorities arrested an alleged Abu Sayyaf member wanted for the abduction of Jehovah’s Witnesses preachers in Sulu 10 years ago, during an operation in Zamboanga City on Friday.

Suspect Walid Amping was arrested in Brgy. Tulongatung around 11:20 a.m., Senior Supt. James Mejia, Zamboanga City Police director, said.

The arrest was made after witnesses positively identified the suspect, Mejia said.

Amping, who was only in his teens during the abduction, has been using the name Alexander Antonio after going into hiding, said a police source, who requested anonymity for lack of authority to speak on the matter.

The suspect’s real name was only discovered when relatives visited him in detention, the source said.

Amping is presently being investigated for his possible involvement in the abduction of school teacher Flordeliza Ongchua in Brgy. Labuan on Nov. 13, the source added.

Capt. Alberto Caber, spokesman of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division, said Amping, who also uses the alias Tuma, is facing six counts of kidnapping for ransom and serious illegal detention.

Members of the Army’s Task Force Zamboanga, 3rd Air Division, and Zamboanga City Police carried out the arrest on a warrant issued by Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 266 Judge Toribio Ilao, he said.

On Aug. 20, 2002, Abu Sayyaf members kidnapped six Jehovah’s Witnesses preachers and their Muslim guide in Jolo, Sulu, and later beheaded two of the victims. (John Roson)

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