An alleged notorious member of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group (ASG) has been arrested in Quezon City, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Oscar Albayalde said in a press conference today.
Albayalde identified the suspect as 32-year-old Abuhair Kullim Indal, whose aliases are Annual Dasil and Abu Khair. He was arrested inside his home on Friday at the Salam Compound in Barangay (Village) Culiat through warrants of arrest for seven separate criminal cases, including his alleged involvement in the 2001 kidnapping of 15 workers at a plantation in Basilan province.
In June 2001, 15 plantation workers at the Golden Harvest Plantation in Barangay (Village) Tairan in Basilan province were abducted by the ASG. Five of the workers were beheaded by the terrorist group, while the others managed to escape or were rescued by military forces.
Quezon City Police District (QCPD) chief Brigadier General Joselito Esquivel said during the press conference today that they received a tip from locals on the whereabouts of the suspect.
When Indal was confronted by arresting officers, he allegedly attempted to resist arrest and went to his room to get a hand grenade. He was, however, subdued before he could detonate the bomb.
The PNP said Indal was “one of the trusted men” of ASG commander Furuji Indama, and former subleader Nur Hassan Jamiri who surrendered to authorities back in March 2018.
The suspect also allegedly engaged with the Philippine military in an encounter in August 2001 in the area of Kumalarang, Basilan where he was wounded on his right arm.
Esquivel said that Indal refused to give more information on whether or not the ASG will plot to stage an attack in Metro Manila.
“When we arrested him we subjected (him) to interview but he’s not budging and we’re still investigating on that angle,” the QCPD director said in a mix of English and Filipino. “He’s just a person of interest wanted by the law. It just so happened that his affiliation was Abu Sayyaf.”
The PNP chief said Indal will be brought to the Isabela Regional Trial Court for further proceedings.
Meanwhile, Albayalde also said today that the PNP welcomed the confirmation of the death of Muslim militant commander Abu Dar, whose real name was Owaydah Marohombsar. He was believed to be emir (leader) of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia.
Abu Dar was the local terrorist leader of the Dawlah Ismaliya-Lanao (formerly called Maute-Islamic State) who figured prominently in the infamous Marawi siege in 2017. He helped plan the bloody siege in the city, alongside the slain ISIS emir Isnilon Hapilon and Maute Group leaders Omar and Abdullah Maute.
Abu Dar was among the five terrorists killed in an encounter with military forces on March 14 in Tubaran town, Lanao del Sur province, the PNP said.
He was confirmed dead by the Philippine Army’s First Infantry Division yesterday through DNA samples, ABS-CBN News reported.
A combined Maute and ASG operation attacked Marawi City in Mindanao in 2017 in an attempt to establish an Islamic state in the city. The Marawi siege displaced 350,000 civilians and left more than a thousand killed in the battle, most of whom were terrorists.