Senior Abu Sayyaf leader bares plan to surrender

ZAMBOANGA CITY — The most senior Sulu-based Abu Sayyaf leader is wishing to surrender, according to security official on Thursday.

Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., commander of Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said Radullan Sahiron wants to turn himself in to authorities because "he is already old."

Sahiron, a one-armed bandit leader, is known as the most senior Abu Sayyaf leader based in Sulu and wanted by the US Department of Justice for a bounty of $1 million.

Galvez said the surrender plan of Sahiron was relayed by elderly Muslim leaders from Sulu following relentless military offensives.

Sahiron, however, has reportedly set conditions for his surrender, which includes remaining under Philippine authorities' custody.

"Sahiron wants to surrender provided he will not be turned over to the US or other countries," Galvez said.

US interest on Sahiron is believed to have stemmed from his participation in the kidnapping of American national Jeffry Schilling during the late 1990s in Sulu.

The news of Sahiron's plan came after several Abu Sayyaf members from Basilan and Tawi-Tawi chose to yield. The number of militant bandits from the group who surrendered to lawmen already reached 50 since last year.

Last Tuesday, there were 11 Abu Sayyaf gunmen from Tawi-Tawi who surrendered.

Galvez said another one also yielded last month in Sulu, an area where the Abu Sayyaf militants are concentrated.

"For the first time meron nag-surrender sa Sulu. Ever since walang nag-surrender na Abu Sayyaf," Galvez said.



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