ASG LEADER. Authorities arrest an Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) leader facing a decade-old string of criminal charges in Jolo, Sulu on Thursday (Nov. 17, 2022). The arrested suspect, Ibrahim Asara, 52, is the sub-leader of ASG leader Radullan Sahiron, the oldest bandit leader based in the province of Sulu. (Photo courtesy of CIDG – Zamboanga Peninsula)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Authorities arrested Thursday a sub-leader of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) who has been hiding for the past 10 years due to a string of criminal cases in Sulu province.

Col. Richard Verceles, operations chief of the Area Police Command - Western Mindanao, said Ibrahim Asara, 52, was arrested around noontime at a house inside Camp Senior Superintendent Julasirim Kasim in Barangay Asturias, Jolo, Sulu.

Verceles said Asara, of Barangay Kanmindus, Luuk, Sulu, carries multiple aliases that include Rahim Absara, Abu Absara, Ambrin Absara, Imrin Asara, Tuan Yacob, Abu Abad, and Abu Rah.

The suspect has standing warrants of arrest for six counts of murder and 25 counts of frustrated murder with no recommended bail issued by a court in Jolo, Sulu in 2012.

Asara is the sub-leader of ASG Radullan Sahiron, the one-armed and oldest bandit leader based in Sulu.

Verceles said Asara was involved in the January 2008 kidnapping of trader Rosalie Lao in Jolo; the June 8, 2009 kidnapping of ABS-CBN news anchor Ces Oreña Drilon and her cameraman in Maimbung; and the Oct. 9, 2009 kidnapping and beheading of Gabriel Canizares, teacher-in-charge of Kan-Ague Elementary School in Barangay Tanum, Patikul.

Asara is also linked to the kidnapping of a boat captain and crewmen of Mega Fishing firm in Minis Island, Hadji Panglima Tahil, on March 11, 2011; the kidnapping of restaurant owner Nelson Lim in Patikul on June 22, 2011; and the July 28, 2011 clash against Marine troopers that resulted in the death of 2nd Lt. Michael Balalad in Patikul.

The suspect was placed under the custody of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group - Sulu provincial field office before his turnover to Taguig City court where the cases filed against him were transferred from Sulu. (PNA)