AUTHORITIES on Wednesday caught Khair Mundos, a key leader and chief financier of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), in Barangay San Dionisio, Parañaque City.
Mundos, wanted by the Philippine and United States governments, was arrested after a seven-year manhunt.
Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) chief Maj. Gen. Eduardo Año said Mundos has a $500,000 bounty on his head from the US government and another P5 million from Philippine authorities.
Año said Mundos, who is ASG’s direct link to the al Qaeda, an international terrorist group, and its Asian terrorist cell Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), was often seen in the company of JI terrorists prior to his arrest.
“He has a $500,000 reward from the US and P5 million from us.It’s an operation of the Army intelligence, AFP and PNP operatives,” he added.
As finance officer, Mundos arranged for the transfer of funds from the al Qaeda which the ASG used to finance its terroristic activities.
Military spokesman Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said Mundos was identified as a foreign liaison officer of the ASG and channelled funds from foreign terrorist networks to the local terrorist group.
“His arrest will greatly affect the operation of the ASG in terms of financial sourcing as well as in their linkages with foreign extremist groups that help in the training of ASG members in Min–danao,” Zagala added.
The AFP, Zagala further said, will coordinate with the proper government agencies handling Mundos and will provide the necessary security and support to prevent any untoward incident or a repeat of the terrorist escape from jail in 2007.
Records showed that Mundos was arrested in May 2004 on money laundering charges connected with terrorist activities, but was later rescued by his comrades from the Kidapawan City jail in Cotabato in 2007.
Aside from terror activities, the ASG is also into kidnap-for-ransom activities. It is notorious for beheading victims who failed to pay ransom in exchange for their release.
In 2001, the ASG abducted 20 people at the Dos Palmas Resort in Honda Bay, Palawang that resulted to the deaths of at least five hostages, including American nationals Guillermo Sobero and Martin Burnham.
The ISAFP had earlier confirmed the presence of JI members in the country, training members of the ASG and other rogue elements in bomb making and marksmanship, among others.
The ISAFP admitted having a hard time containing terrorists because they look like Filipinos and some of them know how to speak the local dialect.