PH mum on turnover of wanted terrorist

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 18 2014 04:45 PM | Updated as of Jun 19 2014 12:45 AM

MANILA - A Palace spokesman on Wednesday remained mum on whether or not Abu Sayyaf terrorist Khair Mundos will be turned over to the United States following his capture.

"Doon sa aspeto na kung siya ay iti-turn over, wala tayong impormasyon hinggil diyan. We have to find out kung ano 'yung mga accountabilities niya sa batas at kung anong sangay ng pamahalaan natin ang mayroong hurisdiksyon hinggil diyan," Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said.

He gave assurance that the government is always keeping an eye out for possible terror attacks.

Philippine authorities earlier announced the capture of Khair Mundos, one of the Abu Sayyaf's top leaders, in Manila last week after a manhunt lasting seven years.

The US State Department's "Rewards for Justice" website describes him as a "key leader and financier" of the Abu Sayyaf, an Islamic militant group blamed for the worst extremist attacks in the Philippines.

The group, founded with seed money from Al-Qaeda, is believed to have only a few hundred militants but has successfully carried out deadly bomb attacks and kidnappings, often targeting foreigners and Christians.

Mundos had been captured in 2004 in the southern Philippine region of Mindanao, a largely lawless area roughly 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) from Manila where the Abu Sayyaf is based.

He was arrested "on the first-ever money laundering charges against terrorists", according to the "Rewards for Justice" website.

It said Mundos confessed in custody to having arranged the transfer of Al-Qaeda funds to the Abu Sayyaf's top leader for bombings and other criminal acts throughout Mindanao.

He was also charged in the Philippines with multiple murder charges.

However Mundos was among dozens of militants who escaped from Kidapawan City prison in Mindanao in February 2007, as part of a well-planned break.

Muslim insurgents using grenade launchers blasted their way into the jail before dawn, then pinned down a handful of guards with rifle fire while Mundos and the others fled. With Agence France-Presse