ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - Government troops captured an Abu Sayyaf member Saturday in Sitangkai, Tawi-Tawi after his neighbors revealed his presence, according to security official.
Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, spokesperson of Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), identified the arrested suspect as Sahidul Bandhala, also known for his aliases "Idul," "Jamiri Saidul," "Saidul Idul." He is a native of Barangay Sipangkot and a member of the Abu Sayyaf’s kidnap for ransom group (KFRG).
Pentiglay said 18 Abu Sayyaf members were apprehended in the area under the Westmincom’s area of operations. Forty-eight others surrendered while 56 were killed.
According to the military, Jikiri was nabbed by elements of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 10 (MBLT), under Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi (JTFT), headed by Brig. Gen. Custodio Parcon.
Parcon said his forces were conducting a village forum among residents of Sipangkot to address the threat of Abu Sayyaf's terrorist activities.
“When the name of Jikiri came about, a concerned resident volunteered and pinpointed the suspect to be around the gathering,” Parcon said.
The police and the Marines immediately invited the suspect for questioning and Jikiri confessed to be part of Abu Sayyaf's KFRG, under sub-leaders Idang Susukan and Sihata Latip.
Susukan and Latip’s groups are operating in Sulu province.
Jikiri also revealed that he has contacts with other Abu Sayyaf's KFRG leaders such as Abrham Hamid, Salip Susung, and the slain notorious Nixon and Brown Muktadil brothers in planning their cross border kidnapping and hijacking which targeted foreign nationals.
Parcon said Jikiri also squealed the other Abu Sayyaf sub-leaders operating in the area.
"Jikiri revealed that the sub-leaders will pay him for every errand they ask him to do for them," Parcon said.
Parcon said the suspect was temporarily detained under police custody, pending the proper filing of charges in the court.
The military official also lauded the residents of their support in ridding out the province of the presence of Abu Sayyaf militants.
Parcon said at least 11 Abu Sayyaf bandits have already surrendered about a month ago and high-powered firearms were recovered.