HEAVILY-ARMED commandos yesterday brought captured high-ranking Abu Sayyaf leader Anduljhad ‘Edang’ Susukan to the maximum-security Philippine National Police Custodial Center where he will be detained pending a court decision on where he should be permanently jailed, PNP chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa said.
The wanted terror suspect was officially turned over to custodial officials of the PNP Headquarters Support Service headed by Brigadier Gen. Alexander J. Sampaga at 1 a.m. yesterday and was subjected to standard booking procedures, a medical check-up and an RT-PCR test as part of the PNP’s effort to ensure that its custodial prisoners are COVID-free, said the PNP chief.
PNP spokesman, Brig. Gen. Bernard M. Banac said the entire 209,000-strong police force and the Armed Forces specifically those stationed in Mindanao remained on high alert to preempt any Abu Sayyaf retaliatory moves.
“The PNP along with the AFP remains alert and vigilant to respond to any reprisal attack,” said Banac amid fears that although the arrest of Susukan greatly crippled the operations of the Abu Sayyaf, members of the ISIS-inspired terror group may launch pocket of offensives targeting security forces and the civilian populace.
Banac said that they are beefing-up their intelligence gathering and security patrols and are using their barangay intelligence network to thwart any plans by lawless groups to take advantage of the situation.
On Thursday, Moro National Liberation Front founding chairman Nur Misuari turned over to the PNP in Davao City the wanted high-ranking Abu Sayyaf leader facing at least 34 serious criminal charges in court.
Gen. Gamboa said Susukan was handed to police authorities by Misuari right inside his residence at Yñigue Subdivision in Maa, Davao City.
The Police Regional Office 11 headed by Brigadier Gen. Filmore B. Escobal and the Davao City police headed by Colonel Kirby John B. Kraft initiated the negotiation after discovering that Susukan was brought to Davao City to seek medical attention.
“The PNP immediately advised (Davao City) Mayor Inday Sara Duterte who assured us of her full cooperation and assistance to ensure the peaceful handover and orderly transfer of custody to proper authorities,” Gen. Gamboa said.
Shortly after he was turned over to authorities, the local police served the warrants of arrest for 23 cases of murder, 5 cases for kidnapping and serious illegal detention and 6 cases for frustrated murder issued against Susukan by different Mindanao courts.
Susukan was initially taken to the Camp Quintin Merecido Hospital for a routine medical check-up.
The suspect reportedly surrendered to Misuari in Jolo, Sulu last April and since then has been monitored to be freely moving in Davao City with some MNLF companions.
He is wanted for his involvement in cross-border kidnappings in Sabah and Sulu since 2013 including the abduction of Chinese national Gao Huayun and Filipina Marcy Darawan in a resort in Semporna, Malaysia on April 2, 2014; the kidnapping of Chinese national Yang Zai Lin in a resort in Lahad Datu, Malaysia on May 6, 2014; the abduction of Malaysian national Chan Sai Chun on June 6, 2014 from his fish farm in Kampung Sapang, Malaysia; and the kidnapping of Bernard Then and Thien Nyuk Fan from a seafood restaurant in Sandakan, Malaysia on May 14, 2015.
Police and military authorities said they have reliable information that the suspect directly participated in some of the actual kidnappings or acted as ‘negotiator’ of the Abu Sayyaf which demanded huge amount of ransom money for the release of their captives.
Bernard Then was believed to be beheaded by his Abu Sayyaf captors in Jolo on November 17, 2015.
Susukan lost his left arm after being shot by security forces during a gunbattle in Jolo early last year. Misuari, who is known to have convinced a number of most wanted Abu Sayyaf terrorists to surrender to the government, reportedly took him to Davao City to have him fitted with a prosthetic replacement for his left arm.
As an official of the MNLF peace coordinating committee formed by President Duterte, Misuari is one of the key Mindanao officials who have been helping the Commander-in-Chief in his effort to bring a lasting peace in Mindanao which has been troubled by decades-long separatist problem and the presence of lawless elements including the Abu Sayyaf and other ISIS-inspired armed groups.