Khair Mundos, a top Filipino commander of the Abu Sayyaf extremist group, was captured by Philippine army troops on Wednesday and has reportedly admitted that he has been receiving funds from al-Qaida to finance bombings in the country.
Mundos, who is on the U.S. most-wanted terrorists list, was arrested near Manila International Airport, according to Associated Press, or AP. He was spotted in a slum community near the airport, security officials in the Philippines reportedly said, adding that the reason behind his presence in the capital remained unclear.
The capture of Mundos, one of the highest-ranking terrorist suspects in the region, is a major blow to Abu Sayyaf, the Islamist group involved in carrying out bombings, kidnappings and assassinations in the Southeast Asian country, military intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Eduardo Ano, said according to AP.
Mundos served as a top commander, trainer and planner of attacks for the group, and was previously captured in 2004 before escaping in 2007. In 2009, the U.S. State Department reportedly announced a $500,000 bounty for the capture or killing of Mundos, who authorities believe also handled Abu Sayyaf's finances.
Mundos, who is also known to have links with Jemaah Islamiyah, a Southeast Asian militant Islamist network, has reportedly led the militant group that mainly operates out of southern Basilan, located just off the southern coast of the Zamboanga peninsula, a region about 540 miles south of Manila.
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The latest attack linked to the Abu Sayyaf group happened on May 6 when five militants raided a Malaysian fish farm in Baik Island on the state of Sabah and abducted the farm's manager.