MANILA, Philippines — Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chairman Nur Misuari may face charges if it is established that he coddled Abu Sayyaf leader Anduljihad Susukan, alias Idang.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana yesterday said Misuari could be charged for violation of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
Lorenzana said Susukan and Misuari were sighted in Davao City shortly before the bandit leader was arrested on Thursday.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said Susukan’s supposed surrender to Misuari does not make the Abu Sayyaf leader immune from arrest.
“His giving himself up to Mr. Misuari is not the surrender contemplated under the law,” Arevalo said.
Sources in the intelligence community said Misuari lied when he allowed Susukan to ride with him in a private jet from Zamboanga City to Davao on Monday.
Susukan reportedly used a different name in the flight manifest.
Misuari was said to have negotiated for Susukan’s peaceful surrender when reports that they were seen together reached authorities.
Misuari should explain why Susukan was under his custody, Arevalo said.
He said they received reports that Susukan was in Davao City for a checkup for his prosthetic arm, which he lost in a recent encounter with goverment troopers. The bandit also reportedly wanted to seek an audience with President Duterte.
AFP on alert
Arevalo said Susukan’s arrest was a big blow to the Abu Sayyaf even as frontline units are on alert for retaliatory attacks.
”I have directed field commanders in Mindanao to intensify focused military operations to prevent possible retaliation by Idang’s followers and to force them to surrender or face demise, ” AFP chief Gen. Gilbert Gapay said.
Susukan was transported to Manila yesterday aboard a military aircraft and escorted by a contingent of police and military personnel.
He will be under police custody pending a court order on the detention facility where he will be committed while undergoing trial.
No safe conduct pass
Maj. Arvin John Encinas, spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command, said the military did not issue a safe conduct pass to allow Susukan to travel from Sulu to Davao City.
Encinas said Susukan would have to face justice, citing the numerous charges for kidnapping with serious illegal detention and frustrated murder that the Abu Sayyaf leader is facing.
Susukan is with the group of Hatib Hajjan Sawadjaan, and was among those who participated in the Zamboanga siege in 2013, which Misuari led. – Roel Pareño, Romina Cabrera
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