PHILIPPINE National Police PNP Chief, General Debold M. Sinas has announced the capture of an Abu Sayyaf Group sub-leader wanted for kidnapping-for-ransom and gun-for-hire activities during an operation in Ungkaya Pukan Basilan at 2 a.m. Saturday.
Sinas said members of the PNP Special Action Force headed by Major Gen. Bernabe M. Balba and the PNP Intelligence Group under Colonel Warren F. de Leon arrested Hadji Faisal Abdulkarim during a counter-terrorism operation in Bgy. Matata, Ungkaya Pukan.
The suspect is wanted for the murder of a local barangay official in 2013, Sinas added.
Sinas said Saturday’s operation was part of their ongoing stepped-up offensive against local terrorist personalities wanted by the court.
He also commended the PNP-SAF and PNP-IG operatives involved in their latest major accomplishment against terrorism and criminality.
“Despite the risks involved, the arresting team accomplished the mission, put away a dangerous criminal, kept the community safe, and made the PNP proud” Sinas said.
According to the PNP chief, Abdulkarim has been identified as a sub-leader of the ASG-Dawlah Islamiyah Basilan Group headed by Radmil Jannatul who succeeded the late Furuji Indama after the latter was killed in a government offensive.
Abdulkarim is the subject of two separate warrants of arrest for murder, multiple murder and multiple arson issued by Judge Danilo Bucoy of the Isabela City Regional Trial Court Branch 2 in Basilan.
The captured bandit is also a principal suspect in the murder of Barangay Chairman Naber Usani in 2014 and the attack and burning of several houses in Bgy. Bulo-Bulo in Sumisip town in 2004.
Sinas said that the raiding team seized three assault rifles, an M-203 grenade launcher and live rounds of 40mm grenade ammunition from the suspect who is known for harboring wounded ASG fighters from Sulu in his makeshift medical station in Basilan where police also found assorted medical supplies.
“We are subjecting a mobile phone recovered from him to digital forensic examination to determine his links with other known terrorist personalities and possible foreign fund sources,” Sinas said.