Manila: Two notorious terrorists of the Abu Sayyaf group, including the Canadian hostage executioner, were taken into custody on Friday after they surrendered to Philippine security forces.
Ben Quirino, aka Ben Tattoo, 41, and his brother Almuzer Yadah, 55, were deputy leaders of the terrorist organization that operates in the south of the country, and gained notoriety for extortion for ransom, murder and kidnapping Is.
Both men have been linked to several murders, including those of two Canadian nationals who were kidnapped in 2015 from an upscale resort on the island of Samal and held captive in the group’s stronghold in Jolo, Sulu Province.
Canadians were killed in 2016 after a $6.4 million ransom was not paid. Tattoo filmed himself beheading detainees.
He was also involved in the kidnapping of Baker Attani, the head of the Arab News Asia bureau, in 2012.
Atyani, who was then working for the Al-Arabiya news channel, was held captive by the ASG for 18 months.
Yadah was responsible for ASG’s logistics and food supply.
Major General Ignatius Patrimonio, Commander of the 11th Infantry Division, “We regard these two as the most notorious ASG leaders who have surrendered given the number of cases registered against them – kidnapping for ransom, murder and many others From.” Designated to fight terrorism in Sulu, told Arab News.
“They got tired of chasing down the armed forces. In addition, they no longer have the support of the local population; His group is badly destroyed and his brothers have been killed.”
Formed in 1991, the ASG emerged as a separate group from the Moro National Liberation Front, a movement demanding autonomy for Filipino Muslims in the south of the country. It was initially influenced by al-Qaeda, but has been primarily involved in criminal activity since the early 2000s. In 2014, some of its factions pledged allegiance to Daesh.
The ASG’s strength has been dwindling since 2018 when the Philippine military cracked down on Daesh allies. Data from the 11th Infantry Division shows that the number of militants operating in the group has fallen from around 300 in 2019 to an estimated 100.
General Benjamin Batra Jr., commander of Brigadier 1103rd Infantry Brigade, which has jurisdiction over Patikul, Tattoo and Yad’s hometown, told Arab News that the army had been tracking the pair since last year with the help of police, intelligence and local governments.
“But the key to how we were able to reach him was his family and community leaders,” he said. “Obviously, they were already under pressure due to frequent military and police operations, and a series of surrenders of their fellow Abu Sayyaf members.”
Batra said that Yada was the first to surrender and persuaded Tattoo to follow suit. The couple handed over the couple to police on Friday, as both are facing a series of criminal charges.
So far this year, a total of 67 Abu Sayyaf members in Sulu have surrendered to security forces in Jolo.