Police foil private army rise

ZAMBOANGA CITY — Authorities have facilitated the surrender of a supposed armed group leader and a member, preventing the rise of a private army in Tawi-Tawi.

Area Police Command-Western Mindanao operation chief Col. Richard Verceles disclosed that a certain Ussam Kipli — believed to be the group leader — and member Gafar Sakaddin surrendered in Barangay Poblacion, Bongao, Tawi-Tawi.

Verceles said two surrendered to the police following an intelligence-driven operation against the Usam clan led by Kipli. Kipli and Sakaddin surrendered a cal.38 revolver and a Garand rifle.

The clan is a potential private armed group operating in Barangay Mantabuan Sannang Hati, Sapa-Sapa and nearby towns in Tawi-Tawi.

“The group is armed with assorted firearms,” Verceles said in a statement Saturday.

He said they served as the political security of former Sapa-Sapa Mayor Mohammad Ali sometime in 2018.

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