KOTA KINABALU: A notorious Abu Sayyaf sub-leader, reported to have been killed during a shootout with police in Tawau, Sabah, last month, is apparently still alive.
He is reported to have given himself up to the Philippine authorities yesterday.
A Malaysian daily had on March 1 identified an individual, who was slain along with two other Filipino terror suspects, as the highly-wanted Nurhassan Jamiri.
The report had then irked the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom), whose chief DCP Hazani Ghazali said the media should clear such reports with the authorities before publishing as it had not been confirmed.
The Philippine media yesterday reported that Nurhassan and 13 of his followers surrendered with their firearms in a remote village in Basilan province in Mindanao.
Western Mindanao command chief Lt Gen Carlito Galvez Jr said Nurhassan’s group turned in 10 high-powered firearms, including M16 and M14 rifles, 40 assorted ammunition magazines, 651 live rounds, an MK52 fragmentation grenade and eight bandoliers.
He said Nurhassan and his men had been brought to the headquarters of the 9th Scout Ranger Company and the army’s 104 Infantry Brigade in Tabiawan in Isabela City.
The Philippine Army’s Joint Task Force Basilan commander Brig Gen Juvymax Uy said Nurhassan and his followers were undergoing custodial debriefing.
Nurhassan, who had remained out of the authorities’ radar for the last seven years, was suspected to have been involved in the bus bombing at the Makati financial hub of Manila that killed five passengers in 2011.
He was also the reported captor of Warren Rodwell, a 54-year-old Australian, who was held by the Abu Sayyaf for 472 days in Basilan in 2011.
It was also reported that Nurhassan led a notorious Abu Sayyaf sub-group consisting of slain bomb expert Mussana Jamiri, his cousin, in Basilan.
The Malaysian daily had reported that Nurhassan was gunned down with the two accomplices at a plantation in Tawau on Feb 27.
The identities of the three men have yet to be announced by the authorities, whose investigation also involves Interpol as well as security agencies from the Philippines and Indonesia.