The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Eastern Sabah Southern Command (ESSCOM) joined forces to arrest 2 Abu Sayyaf Group sub-leaders and 6 of their followers in Sabah on Saturday, May 8.
The intelligence background was provided by Joint Task Force Sulu, while Malaysian security forces launched a police special operation that resulted in the capture of the eight Filipino suspects in Beaufort, Sabah, before dawn Sunday.
According to Philippine marine brigade commander Colonel Hernanie Songano, the suspects fled to Sabah in March because of “persistent military operations” in their jungle bases in Sulu province.
Sansibar Bensio and Mabar Binda were among the arrested suspects. Both are identified as sub-leaders of the Eastern Sulu-based Abu Sayyaf Group and have been involved in previous clashes with the Philippine military, including the beheading of a marine officer in Sulu in 2011.
Abu Sayyaf Group is considered a national security threat that is responsible for bombings, ransom kidnappings, and beheadings.