One of the United State’s most-wanted terrorists and Filipino commander of Abu Sayyaf, extremist group which has received Al Qaeda funds to finance bombings in the country, was captured by Philippine army troops and police on June 11, 2014. Khair Mundos was arrested in a slum community near Manila’s international airport. He was arrested, without incident, in connection to his involvement in bombings and kidnappings.
Mundos is one of the highest-ranking terrorist suspects. He was captured in 2004, but escaped in 2007. Maj. Gen. Eduardo Ano, military intelligence chief, described the capture as a “major blow” to Abu Sayyaf because he served as top commander, financial, logistical officer, trainer and planner of attacks.
The United States State Department says Mundos is also facing money laundering charges and has admitted that he arranged the transfer of Al Qaeda funds to the Abu Sayyaf to finance bombings and other attacks in the Philippines. He has led Abu Sayyaf militants around Southern Bailan and has many links with member of the Southeast Asian militant network Jemaah Islamiyah.
Abu Sayyaf has an estimated 300 armed fighters split into six factions. The Abu Sayyaf was founded in 1991 in Basilan, about 880 kilometres (550 miles) south of Manila. It vowed to wage jihad, or holy war, but lost its key leaders early in combat, sending it on a violent path of extremism and criminality. This group has been blamed for deadly bomb attacks, ransom kidnappings and beheadings. Abu Sayyaf is also blamed for deadly attacks on American troops and civilians in the southern Pacific.
How do you think the prosecution will play out? Will he be tried in both the Philippines and the United States? Will the Philippines extradite Mundos to the United States? What do you think his sentence will be? What international law violations do you think will be brought against Mundos? What additional comments do you have about the case?
It is great news that Abu Sayyaf has been captured. He has committed many severe and devastating wrongdoings as a high-ranking terrorist suspect. I believe that the Philippines will retain jurisdiction over this case, but the United States will be looking closely, since Abu Sayyaf killed many American troops and civilians in the southern Pacific, and is one of the United States’ most-wanted terrorists. The death penalty has been abolished in the Philippines, but if it had not been, I think that Sayyaf would have received it. But since the death penalty has been abolished, I believe that Abu Sayyaf will be held in a maximum-security prison for the rest of his life. He should be charged with multiple crimes against humanity for his jihad attempts, and the many killings, kidnappings, and bombings he orchestrated. Unfortunately, people as troubling and as inhumane as Sayyaf are becoming more prominent; therefore, once people like him are captured they must be punished so that justice maybe served. Even though the lives lost can never be regained, punishing individuals like Sayyaf to the highest extent of the law is imperative.