Susukan, top Abu Sayyaf leader, arrested in Davao City

DAVAO CITY  -- The Davao City Police Office (DCPO) confirmed the arrest of Abu Sayyaf leader Anduljihad "Idang" Susukan in Maa, Davao City at around 8 p.m. on Thursday, August 13. 

(Photo from Davao City Police)

An official of the DCPO confirmed to Manila Bulletin over the phone that combined elements of police and Task Force Davao served a total of 23 warrants of arrest against Susukan for various criminal charges following the arrest.

Intelligence sources earlier disclosed  that Susukan arrived in Davao City along with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founder Nur Misuari onboard a private plane from Jolo, Sulu on Sunday.

Quoting intelligence sources, too, the Malaysia-based The Star reported that Misuari and Susukan are scheduled to meet with President Rodrigo Duterte anytime this week here in Davao City. 

The exclusive report of The Star added that Misuari brought the Abu Sayyaf leader here to have him fitted with a prosthetic replacement for his left arm.  Susukan was badly injured and lost his left arm following a firefight with government forces in Jolo last year.

Furthermore, earlier reports also disclosed that Susukan had surrendered to Misuari in April. 

As this developed, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Archie Gamboa, confirmed the arrest of Anduljihad "Idang" Susukan by the Davao City police headed by Col. Kirby John Kraft.  Gamboa thanked MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari for facilitating the negotiation between the PNP and Idang Susukan, adding that the turnover of Susukan happened in the house of Misuari at Yñigue Subdivision in Maa, Davao City.

Misuari has been accused of coddling Susukan over rumors that the latter allegedly surrendered to him sometime in April. Susukan has been reportedly allowed to roam around the MNLF camp in Sulu since then.

Misuari, who was also wanted before for cases relating to the failed Zamboanga City siege, reportedly even accompanied Susukan to seek medical attention in Davao City, the hometown of President Duterte.

Apparently, the police are aware of the presence of Susukan in Davao City in the past few days.

“Police officers initiated the negotiation after finding out that Susukan was brought to Davao City to seek medical attention,” said Gamboa.

“The PNP immediately advised Mayor Inday Sara Duterte who assured us of her full cooperation and assistance, to ensure the peaceful handover and orderly transfer of custody to proper authorities,” he added.

Susukan is wanted for high-profile kidnappings and killings of hostages. He is also wanted in Malaysia since some of the victims were forcibly taken in the Sabah area.

Gamboa said that after the turnover of Susukan, warrants of arrest for 23 cases of murder, frustrated murder, kidnapping and serious illegal detention were served to the ASG leader.

The PNP chief said Susukan will undergo a medical check up at the Camp Quintin Merecido Hospital before being turned over to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) General Headquarters at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

Susukan was charged with several kidnapping operations against foreign nationals since 2013 in Sabah.

Susukan was also a cohort of Malaysian terrorists Zulkifli Abdihur a.k.a. Marwan and Amin Baco a.k.a. Yohan when they were still based in Sulu in 2012. 

Susukan became the sub-leader of Hatib Sawadjaan, who was said to be the replacement of Isnilon Hapilon as the local emir in Southern Philippines of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).