Camp Navarro, Calarian, Zamboanga City – May 10, 2021, The strengthened collaboration and cooperation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Eastern Sabah Southern Command (ESSCOM) led to the apprehension of two notorious Abu Sayyaf Group sub-leaders and six of their followers in Sabah on May 8, 2021.
“Based on the report from the ground, the ESSCOM responded to the information provided by the Joint Task Force Sulu and launched a police special operation in Jalan Taman Sri Arjuna, Beaufort, Sabah around 3:00 o’clock in the morning., May 8, 2021, Saturday,” said Lieutenant General Corleto Vinluan, Jr., WestMinCom Commander.
The anti-terror operation resulted in the apprehension of Sansibar Bensio, 40-45 years old; and Mabar Binda, 25-30 years old, both sub-leaders of the Eastern Sulu-based Abu Sayyaf Group.
Also apprehended were the following ASG members: Muayyar Binda, 30-35 years old; a.k.a. Sansis; and a.k.a. Firdaus, all members under ASGSL Mabar Binda; Lugah Sanchez, 45-50 years old and Bonijar Samsula, both members under the late ASGSL Juhurim Hussein (Patikul Based; and Alim Sukarno, member under ASGSL Sansibar Bensio.
According to Major General William Gonzales, Commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu, ASGSL Sansibar Bensio, and ASGSL Mabar Binda (the known successor of his father Hatib Munap Binda) are both sub-leaders of the Abu Sayyaf Group/Kidnap-for-Ransom Group based on the eastern/second district of Sulu.
“They are involved in the series of armed confrontations with the military including the encounter on July 2011 at Sitio Tubig Magtuh, Barangay Panglayahan, Patikul, Sulu wherein the late 2nd Lieutenant Michael Baladad of the Philippine Marines was beheaded,” said Major General Gonzales.
Their other involvements include the encounters on the following dates: February 2018 at Bay Sunog, Bud Bawis Complex that resulted in the deaths of five Abusayaff Group members; December 2019 at Sitio Jatih, Bud Bawis Complex that resulted in the successful rescue of two Indonesian nationals and the death of the late ASGSL/KFRGL Hairulla Abduraja at Bud Bawis Complex; November 2020 at Bay Takas, Bud Bawis Complex that resulted in the deaths of Abusayaff Group member Bensio Barahama and ASGSL Hatib Munap Binda.
Bensio was also involved in the kidnapping of the foreign nationals identified as Lorenzo Vinciguerra (Swiss National), Ewold Horn (Dutch National), Samiun Bin Maneu (Indonesian National), Maharudin Bin Lunani (Indonesian National), and Muhammad Farhan (Indonesian National).
Among their Filipino victims were Ronnie Sandagon, Jerel Pepito, Eddie Reubal, Marcial España, Arvin Sabaduquia, Rufino Bustillo, Joseph Bani, Hajan Terong, Joshua Bani, and Michelle Tolentino Panes.
Binda, on the other hand, was also involved in the kidnapping of the Indonesian Nationals mentioned above.
According to 4th Marine Brigade Commander Colonel Hernanie Songano, “due to the sustained intelligence, focused military operations, and civil-military cooperation in the province of Sulu particularly in the second district, the now-apprehended personalities escaped and transferred to Sabah and established an Abusayaff Group cell-based thereat to conduct spotting and casing of probable kidnap victims and facilitate the Foreign Terrorist Groups operating in the Southeast Asian countries conducting terror activities in the Philippines.”
Meanwhile, “the intensified intelligence operations and the support of the community coupled with the constant coordination between the AFP and the ESSCOM contributed to the successful neutralization of the Abusayaff Group sub-leaders and their cohorts. The arrest of these terrorists is a big blow to the ASG” said Lieutenant General Vinluan, Jr.
“My congratulations to the troops of the Joint Task Force Sulu and the ESSCOM for the aggressive measures taken to ensure that these terrorists will not be able to conduct horrendous activities anymore particularly off waters of Sabah” Lieutenant General Vinluan, Jr. added.