Filipino Police Arrest Man on Most-Wanted Terrorist List

Filipino officials arrested wanted terrorist Khair Mundos on Wednesday morning, finally putting to rest a seven-year search for  the dangerous criminal. 

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Filipino officials arrested wanted terrorist Khair Mundos on Wednesday morning, finally putting to rest a seven-year search for  the dangerous criminal.

Mundos, a leader of the Philippines-based Islamist militant group Abu Sayyaf, was arrested in 2004, but escaped from prison in 2007. He has admitted using funding from al-Qaeda to carry out bombing attacks in the Philippines, and reportedly did not resist arrest when he was found in a slum near the international airport in the capital city of Manila. The Manila Times offers details on the arrest:

“We were fed with intelligence information about him. We worked hard to track him down and this morning (Wednesday) we were successful in arresting him,” said Director Benjamin Magalong, head of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG). He attributed the arrest to the smooth flow of intelligence-sharing of the police, the Army’s Intelligence Service Group and NICA.

His capture is a big deal — for those seeking his arrest, and those seeking his leadership. The Associated Press reports:

Mundos is one of the highest-ranked terrorist suspects to be captured in the country in years. His arrest deals a major blow to the Abu Sayyaf, where he was a top commander, a combat trainer, spiritual leader and a plotter of bombings and ransom kidnappings, according to military intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Eduardo Ano. "He's a high-value target," national police spokesman Senior Superintendent Reuben Sindac said.

In 2009, the State Department offered a reward of up to $500,000 "for information leading to the location, arrest and/or conviction of Khair Mundos." Mundos was wounded in a police raid two years ago, but managed to escape, and remained at large until today.

According to Filipino Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, who is chief of public affairs, Mundos's capture will deliver a blow to Abu Sayyaf's funding. "His arrest will greatly affect the operation of the Abu Sayyaf in terms of financial sourcing, as well as in their linkages with foreign extremist groups that help in the training of Abu Sayyaf members in Mindanao,” he said, adding "”We will coordinate with the proper government agencies who are handling Khair Mundos and will provide the necessary security and support to prevent any untoward incident."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.