ZAMBOANGA CITY: Security forces arrested an Abu Sayyaf militant linked to kidnappings in Sabah, Malaysia following a raid in Tawi-Tawi, police said on Wednesday.
Police said Mobin Hailil alias “Kahumbo” was arrested on Tuesday in Bongao town. A pistol and fragmentation grenade were seized from him.
Hailil is also being linked to the killing of a Malaysian policeman Kpl Rajah Jamuan, 32, on Mabul Water Bungalow Resort during an Abu Sayyaf raid in July this year. Rajah’s companion Kons Zakiah Alejp, 26, was kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf and is being held for ransom in Mindanao.
It was not immediately known how security forces were able to track down Hailil, but his arrest came a month after the Eastern Sabah Security Command passed information to Philippine authorities about his Abu Sayyaf activities.
Eastern Sabah Security Command Intelligence Director Datuk Ahmad Nadzer Nordin said at least 14 groups from Mindanao were involved in cross-border kidnappings in Sabah.
Malaysia’s Star Online also quoted a report by former Abu Sayyaf hostage and Mindanao State University lecturer Octavio Dinampo as saying that Hailil is “an intelligence gatherer for Abu Sayyaf, whose main duty is to identify possible targets for the gunmen to kidnap.”
“As an urban operative, he would be familiar with places like Sandakan, Lahad Datu and Semporna,” Dinampo, who was kidnapped in June 2008, told The Star, adding that Hailil would blend in with the Tausug and Yakan communities in these districts.
“These operatives use their knowledge to identify possible kidnap victims and watch their movements as well as the fast boats to be used in the abductions,” he said, adding, any information from Hailil would enable Philippine security officials to know the inner workings of the Abu Sayyaf.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abd Rahman earlier tagged brothers Nilson and Badong Muktadil as among those involved in the kidnappings in Sabah. The siblings were also linked to the raid on Mabul Water Bungalow Resort.
Malaysia’s Star Online also quoted Jalaluddin as saying that the brothers were part of a kidnap-for-ransom group based in Tawi-Tawi. They were believed to be involved in the April 2 kidnapping of Chinese tourist, Gao Huayun, 29, and Filipino worker Marcy Darawan, 40, from the Singamata Reef Resort off Semporna in Sabah. Both women had been freed in exchange for a huge ransom.