9 Abus in Sulu surrender to Army; 1 tagged in Sipadan abductions
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Zamboanga del Sur––After 20 years of hiding, one of the suspects in the April 23, 2000 kidnapping of over 40 tourists and resort workers in Sipadan in Malaysia surrendered to authorities.
Major General William Gonzales, commander of the Army’s 11th Infantry Division and head of Joint Task Force Sulu, said the alleged kidnapper is one of the nine suspected members of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf, who turned themselves in on Monday to the military in Sulu, hoping to restart their lives away from banditry.
“These people have once gone astray. We are glad that they (now) chose a life of peace instead of hiding,” Gonzales said.
He identified five of the nine as Mannan Abdul, Aldaser Bingkal, Takiyo Imdan, Totoh Engal, and Ahamad Hadjilani.
The other four were identified only by their aliases as Abu Jundi, Ramon, Tisoy, and Madz.
Lt. Jerrica Manongdo, spokesperson of the Joint Task Force Sulu, said the military unit behind the surrender of the bandits “strongly advised not to reveal to the public their identities for security reasons.”
Manongdo added that the four were apprehensive about the safety of their families if their true identities were revealed.
The nine surrendered to the 6th Special Forces Batallion, 21st Infantry Battalion (IB), and 45th IB.
Among those considered high profile is Totoh Engal, 54, a follower of Abu leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan.
Engal, who was 25 years old then, was part of the group that snatched at least 40 tourists and resort workers in Sipadan in 2000.
Gonzales said the bandits also surrendered several high-powered firearms.
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