Abu Sayyaf leader transferred to PNP headquarters

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 15) — Wanted Abu Sayyaf leader Anduljihad "Idang" Susukan is now at the headquarters of the Philippine National Police, police said on Saturday.

Police said he is temporarily detained at the PNP Custodial Center pending a court order. Susukan, notorious for kidnap-for-ransom activities, faces 23 counts of murder, five counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention, and six counts of frustrated murder.

The Davao City police took Susukan into custody after he was handed over by Moro National Liberation Front leader Nur Misuari Thursday night. He was flown to Clark Airport in Pampanga Friday night and arrived at Camp Crame in Quezon City at around 1 a.m. on Saturday.

PNP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said Susukan went through RT-PCR test to check for possible COVID-19 infection, as well as the standard documentation procedures. Susukan was in a personal protective equipment, face mask, and face shield.

“PNP along with AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) remain alert and vigilant to prevent and respond to any reprisal attack,” Banac said in a statement.

AFP Chief Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay earlier ordered troops to step up operations against bandits in Mindanao who might retaliate.

Police said Susukan was in Davao City to seek medical attention. He lost his left hand in an encounter in Patikul, Sulu, a lair of the Abu Sayyaf, in February 2019.

It is unclear how long Susukan had been with Misuari, who facilitated the negotiation between the bandit leader and Davao City police. Malaysian media first reported the recent sighting of Susukan, who is also wanted in the neighboring country for cross-border abductions.

Misuari, a former governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, also has standing arrest warrants for rebellion and graft. President Rodrigo Duterte is talking peace with him and he was recently appointed as special economic envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.