KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – A notorious Abu Sayyaf sub-commander called “Idang” Susukan has been arrested by Philippines police in Davao City.
He was arrested at the house of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader Nur Misuari on Thursday (Aug 13).
It is learnt he is currently detained at the Davao City police office.
The Star reported that the notorious gunman, who real name is Abduljihad Susukan, was moving about freely in Davao city.
Idang has a total of 34 warrants of arrest against him for killings and kidnappings in southern Philippines and the east coast of Sabah.
Regional intelligence sources said he arrived to Davao on Tuesday (Aug 11) with Misuari and was seen walking unhindered in the city.
Idang, who is wanted by Philippines and Malaysia for cross-border kidnapping in the east coast of Sabah and other criminal activities in Jolo island in the southern Philippines.
Regional intelligence sources said Idang had surrendered to Misuari in Jolo island in April this year.
Idang was involved in a spate of cross-border abductions in Sabah’s east coast since 2013, including Chinese national Gao Huayun and Filipina Marcy Darawan at Singamata Reef Resort in Semporna waters on April 2,2014; Chinese national Yang Zai Lin from Wonderful Terrace fish farm in Lahad Datu on May 6,2014 and Malaysian Chan Sai Chun, who was snatched from his fish farm in Kampung Sapang in Kunak on June 16,2014.
He was also involved in the kidnap of Sarawakian tourist Bernard Then and Sabahan restaurant owner Thien Nyuk Fan from Ocean King Seafood Restaurant in Sandakan on May 14,2015.
Idang was also connected to the beheading of Sarawakian Bernard Then in Jolo island on Nov 17,2015.
He was involved in many direct and indirect negotiations for the release of hostages kidnapped from Sabah waters over the years.
According to regional intelligence sources, Misuari brought Idang to Davao to have him fitted with a prosthetic limb, after he lost his left arm during a gun battle with the Philippines Armed Forces in Jolo island early last year.
Sources also said that Misuari is expected to meet up with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte in the next few days.
Misuari, whose MNLF base is in Jolo island, is in Davao, days after armed clashes between his faction with rival MNLF group of Yusof Jikiri, who heads the MNLF council of 15.
Misuari has pledged to Mr Duterte to bring peace to the southern Muslim Mindanao region and crush the Abu Sayyaf and other Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)-related groups in the southern Philippines.
Misuari and Jikiri are part of the MNLF peace coordinating committee set up by Mr Duterte.
But intelligence sources said that the rivalry between the one-time comrades, fighting for an independent Muslim Mindanao in the 70s and 80s, is growing.
Jikiri, who is working closely with the Philippines security forces, has formed the MNLF Anti-Kidnapping and Terrorism Task Force (MNLF-AKTTF) to act against Abu Sayyaf.
However, tensions have been growing between the Misuari’s and Jikiri’s groups.
Misuari has facilitated the surrender of notorious Abu Sayyaf members. In contrast, Jikiri’s MNLF-AKTFF has combined with the Philippines military and police to hunt down the top Abu leader Sayyaf including Radullan Sahiron @ “one-armed commander” and Hajan Sawadjaan.
According to intelligence sources, Misuari’s group was allowing Abu Sayyaf gunmen to seek shelter or protection in the MNLF camp in Jolo in the guise of them surrendering.
Misuari faces charges of rebellion and corruption but was given “temporary liberty” in October 2016 to allow him to participate in peace talks with the Duterte government.
In November 2001, Malaysian police arrested Misuari, who was wanted by the Philippines for an uprising in Jolo island, in Sandakan. They sent him back to the Philippines.
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