ZAMBOANGA CITY: Police and military authorities arrested a notorious Abu Sayyaf commander at a private hospital in Zamboanga City where he was undergoing medical operation after being wounded in a battle with security forces in Sulu province.
The officials said Hairulla Asbang alias Ahadi, who was implicated in the September 2015 kidnapping of two Canadians and a Norwegian from a posh resort on Samal Island in southern Philippines, was arrested along with his bodyguard on Saturday night at the Zamboanga Peninsula Medical Center.
Asbang traveled to Zamboanga City by boat after escaping the military in Sulu where his group clashed with security forces.
The military’s Western Mindanao Command has confirmed Asbang’s arrest.
The terrorist leader is heavily guarded to prevent him from escaping and to stop the Abu Sayyaf from rescuing him.
The authorities did not say how it managed to track down Asbang but hospital guards usually report to the police the presence of gunshot victims.
Asbang is facing a string of criminal charges ranging from kidnapping to murder and military and police interrogators were all ready to question him and get more information about the Abu Sayyaf Group, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
The bandit group is still holding more than two dozen Asian hostages in southern Philippines where it continues to elude a massive military operation–ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte–aimed at dismantling its capability to conduct cross-border raids in Sabah, Malaysia.