Lieutenant General Gilbert Gapay, AFP Chief, said there is a possibility that the militant group will launch retaliatory attacks as a result of Susukan’s arrest.
“I have directed field unit commanders in Mindanao to further intensify focused military operations to prevent [a] possible retaliation by Idang’s followers and to force them to surrender or face demise,” he said, describing the bandit’s arrest as “a major blow” on the leadership of the Islamic State-inspired ASG.
He said Susukan had long been the subject of the military’s intelligence operations.
One of his siblings, identified as Mujib Susukan, was killed in a military operation in May 2003 while another one, Almujahid Susukan, was arrested in September 2009.
Susukan, who has 34 standing warrants of arrest under his name and was wanted in Malaysia for cross-border abductions, first surrendered to Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari to have his damaged, left arm replaced by prosthetics. He lost his arm after a fierce firefight with government forces in 2019.
Last Tuesday, August 11, Misuari and Susukan reportedly went to Davao City for the medical operation. A Malaysian media outlet first reported Susukan’s sighting, alarming security forces.
On Thursday night, August 13, Misuari transferred the custody of Susukan to the Davao City police, which then served the warrants of arrest against the wanted bandit for 23 counts of murder, five counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention, and six counts of frustrated murder.
Gapay said the military will “continue to harness the support of the local populace and civilian leaders” to eradicate the threat of the ASG and other local terrorist groups in ZamBaSulTa (Zambonga, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi) area.
Susukan was flown from Davao City to Manila on Friday.
He will temporarily remain at the PNP National Headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City pending the release of a court order as to the detention facility where he will be jailed, said AFP spokesperson, Major General Edgard Arevalo.
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