Long Arm of Ph Law Catches Up with Muktadil Gang

27 September 2016

The Philippine Embassy hailed the Philippine police and military's relentless campaign to secure the safe and early recovery of all kidnap victims, including Malaysians, being held by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and put a stop to atrocities of the group and its affiliate, the Muktadil gang, as the long arm of the law finally caught up with brothers Nixon and Brown Muktadil.

The spokesman of the Western Mindanao Command said Tuesday afternoon that troopers from the Joint Task Force Sulu, assisted by volunteers from Panglima Estino town, conducted operations against the siblings in Tambulian Island in Pata municipality. The two, who were armed, resisted arrest Tuesday morning and were killed in the process.

He added that the fall of the Muktadil brothers is a major blow to the ASG, as the siblings served as sea guides and navigators during the group's conduct of kidnapping in the high seas.

Nixon Muktadil, the leader of the Muktadil gang, his brother Brown and others were involved in a series of kidnappings for ransom which victimized 26 Filipinos, Malaysians and Indonesians.

Earlier, Philippine government authorities also arrested or neutralized other members of the Muktadil gang. Another brother, Mindas, was killed in a shootout with law enforcement officials in Jolo, Sulu in May last year. Khadafy Muktadil was arrested in November last year, also in Jolo, and is currently in jail.

The Philippine National Police rendered a further blow to the ASG's logistics support network with its busting of a gun-running syndicate supplying high-powered guns and ammunition to the group and its seizure of a cache of M203 grenade launchers, M14s, M16s and thousands of rounds of ammunition, worth P6 million (RM513,000). The syndicate head, Unding Kenneth Isa, and three accomplices were arrested last September 24 in San Juan City in Metro Manila.

The law enforcement operations against the Muktadil gang is a manifestation of the determination of the Duterte Administration to safely recover all kidnap victims and put an end to the atrocities and terrorism that have been perpetrated by these lawless elements for years, and have cost loss of lives and properties and caused much distress and anxiety to local communities.

Upon instructions of President Rodrigo Duterte, nine police and military battalions, comprising some 9,000 personnel, have been deployed to and are conducting concerted security and law enforcement operations in suspected ASG hideouts in the island provinces of Sulu and Basilan. A significant number of unregistered motorized boats have been confiscated in recent days in Sulu and nearby waters, hampering the potential movements of ASG elements. A blockade by Philippine Navy elements is also in place.

As a result, 21 ASG members surrendered and laid down their arms September 23, in Sumisip, Basilan.

Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Ricardo Visaya stated that there will be no let-up in the offensives against the ASG terror and kidnap group, and there is no deadline to the operations. The troops will remain in the area until the objective is accomplished. END