MANILA: A senior Muslim guerilla commander captured by the military has expressed remorse for a series of ransom kidnappings by his Abu Sayyaf extremist group, officials said yesterday.
Galib Andang, also known as Commander Robot of the al-Qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf group, has asked for a chance to redeem himself and “have a new life,'' military spokesman Lt Col Daniel Lucero told reporters.
But Andang, who faces the recently reinstated death penalty if convicted of the kidnappings, will have to “answer the charges filed against him,'' Lucero said.
The 36-year-old Filipino is among the suspected masterminds of the 2000 abduction of 21 mostly Western tourists from Sipadan. The hostages were released after several months, reportedly after ransom was paid by Libya.
Andang's Abu Sayyaf faction is also alleged to have beheaded several Filipino captives.
He was captured on Sunday on southern Jolo island after being wounded in a clash with soldiers. Yesterday, he underwent a four-hour surgery on both his legs. Military surgeon Col Rafael Ramos Regino said Andang's left leg might have to be amputated.
Andang was sharing information with the military and was “sorry for what he did”, Lucero said. But the guerilla commander stopped short of confessing to specific crimes.
As he was being wheeled on a stretcher to an air force hospital in southern Zamboanga city on Monday, one of Andang's former captives, a veiled Muslim woman, started cursing him and struck him several times on the face.
Among the information the military wants from Andang are the Abu Sayyaf's past atrocities and present operations, as well as terror group Jemaah Islamiyah's influence on the guerillas.
The military was also trying to check reports Andang raped some of his female hostages, Lucero said. – AP
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