ZAMBOANGA. Malaysian police, through the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom), are handing over to the Philippine authorities eight Abu Sayyaf bandits they arrested in Sabah earlier this month. A photo handout shows Brigadier General Arturo Rojas, commander of the Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi (left), and Col. May, on board the Philippine naval ship, BRP-Ivatan (LC298) in the waters off Bakungan, Turtle Islands, Tawi-Tawi. (SunStar Zamboanga)

Malaysian police handed over the eight Abu Sayyaf bandits they arrested in Sabah earlier this month to the Philippine authorities through Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom), the military reported. Esscom deputy police commissioner Datuk Ahmad Fuad Osman led sales on Friday May 28, one of the eight Abu Sayyaf bandits arrested, including two medium-sized leaders, was in the waters aboard the Philippine naval vessel BRP-Ivatan (LC298) in front of Bakungan, Turtle Island, Tawi-Tawi.

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“Esscom is working together with the Philippine government to defeat terrorism in its areas of operation and finally to end it,” said Osman. The two middle tiers of Abu Sayyaf are identified as follows: Zanzibar Bensio and Mabar Binda, both middle tier leaders of the other east Sulu-based Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). The other six are as follows: Muayyar Binda; Lugah Sanchez; Bonijar Samsula; Alim Sukarno; a certain sansis; and a certain Firdaus. They were arrested on May 8th in Jalan Taman, Sri Arjuna, Beaufort, Sabah, caused by increased cooperation and collaboration between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Esscom. Esscom is a Malaysian security area with a length of 1,400 kilometers on the east coast of Sabah from Kudat to Tawau. The head office is in Lahad Datu. Brigadier General Arturo Rojas, commander of the Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi, as well as Mayor Mohammad Faizal Jamalul of the Turtle Islands, Tawi-Tawi, and representatives of the police and immigration authorities received the eight arrested Abu Sayyaf bandits. In return, Rojas handed over Colonel Hernanie Songano , the Naval Task Group Sulu and the commander of the 4th Marine Brigade, who represented the Joint Task Force Sulu. The eight Abu Sayyaf bandits are transported to Sulu and must undergo a medical examination before they are handed over to the police authorities. “The ASG bandits fled Sulu because of the relentless Targeted Military Operations (FMO) carried out by Joint Task Force Sulu and its Naval Task Group Sulu,” Songano said. Rojas praised Esscom’s unwavering support, saying, “Our unique partnership creates great and meaningful efforts.” (SunStar Zamboanga)

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