Philippine Police Chief Oscar Albayalde gestures beside Abu Sayyaf Group member Abuhair Kullim Indal in Manila. Associated Press
Manolo B. Jara
An aide of one of the top leaders of the Daesh-inspired Abu Sayyaf terrorists has been arrested in Metro Manila where he sought refuge to escape the unrelenting campaign launched against them in Mindanao, a senior police official confirmed on Tuesday.
General Oscar Albayalde, the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), identified the suspect as Abuhair Kullim Indal, 32, also known as Annual Dasil and Abu Khair, who was arrested in a “barangay” (village) in suburban Quezon City, Metro Manila.
Indal tried to resist by taking out a hand grenade when policemen, who were armed with an arrest warrant issued by a Mindanao regional court, but was subdued before he could throw the explosive, Albayalde said.
He disclosed that Indal sought refuge in Metro Manila to escape the unrelenting “search and destroy” campaign launched against the terrorists on the island provinces of Sulu and Basilan by government forces on orders of President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte.
According to Albayalde, court and police records showed that Indal is a “trusted” aide of terrorist leaders Furuji Indama and Nur Hassan Jamiri, the main targets of the campaign and the rescue of the remaining foreign and Filipino hostages.
Indal, he said, is also wanted for the kidnapping of 15 workers of a plantation on Basilan island in June 2001 for which criminal charges have been filed against him in court but he has remained at large until his arrest in Quezon City.
“Indal has been indicted in at least seven criminal cases over his alleged participation in the Basilan kidnapping,” Albayalde said.
The Abu Sayyaf, which pledged allegiance to the Daesh extremists in the Middle East, has gained notoriety through a spate of kidnap-for-ransom cases that have often been been marred by the beheading of their foreign and Filipino hostages.
Regional and Filipino security experts earlier confirmed they have established the link of the Abu Sayyaf to the global Al Qaeda terror network through the Indonesia-based Jemaah Islamiyahn extremists. In addition, the military blamed the Abu Sayyaf and the Maute Group also linked to the Daesh for laying siege on Marawi, the capital city of Lanao del Sur, in May 2017 that prompted Duterte to proclaim martial law of the whole of troubled Mindanao.