Sayyaf in Samal Island kidnap surrenders

Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) - February 2, 2021 - 12:00am

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — An Abu Sayyaf bandit, who served as a guard of three foreigners and a Filipina seized from Samal Island in Davao del Norte four years ago, has surrendered to the military.

Serhan Nieva Saliddin, 37, alias Serhan Salahuddin and Al-Mhadi, was presented in a press briefing yesterday by Col. Antonio John Divinagracia, chief of the Joint Task Force Zamboanga.

Saliddin hid in this city for four months before he decided to surrender for fear of getting arrested by the military.

The suspect was among those who guarded for seven months Canadians Robert Hall and John Ridsdel, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and their Filipina companion Marites Flor, who were seized in September 2015.

The captives were brought to Sulu.

Hall and Ridsdel were executed by their captors after their families failed to pay ransom.

Sekkingstad and Flor were released reportedly after ransom was paid.

Saliddin claimed he was no longer the assigned guard when the bandit group executed Hall and Riddel.

The military said that although Saliddin was tagged as among those who guarded the captives, he was not included in the charge sheet as well as in the warrant issued by a court of Panabo City for the arrest of the kidnappers.

Saliddin said he fled to Tawi-Tawi after figuring in a series of encounters with government forces in Sulu.

He hid for three years in Kota Kinabalu and was arrested in 2018 by the Sabah authorities for being an undocumented Filipino.

Divinagracia said Saliddin was among those deported to Manila by the Malaysian government in September due to the pandemic.

After undergoing quarantine in Manila, Saliddin was brought to Zamboanga City, where he was reunited with his family in Barangay Mampang.

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