Duterte confirms arrest of terrorist leader's son in Malaysia

PHOTO: Reuters

DAVAO CITY - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has confirmed the arrest of the 26-year-old son of a Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader by Malaysian authorities.

According to a CNN article, Duterte said Datu Mohammad Abduljabbar Sema was arrested in Malaysia for his alleged involvement in a deadly blast that killed 15 people in September last year.

Mohammad Abduljabbar is the son of MNLF leader Muslimin Sema and Maguindanao congresswoman Bai Sandra Sema,

Duterte did not elaborate on how Mohammad Abduljabbar was involved in last September's Davao blast, but linked him to the Maute terror group.

"Those Maute members (involved in the bombings), they have all been accounted for. I've captured them all. One of them is the son of Sema, the Cotabato mayor. He is now detained in Malaysia," said Duterte in a speech addressing the business community.

The Maute terror group has been blamed for the Davao night market blast on Sept 2 last year that killed 15 people and injured 70 others.

Meanwhile, the independent news organisation VERA Files first reported that the young Sema was arrested last November at Kuala Lumpur International Airport after his arrival from Bangkok.

The legal basis for Mohammad Abduljabbar's detention in Malaysia remains unclear, but VERA Files said in its report last Friday that the Philippines sent law enforcement representatives in December to Malaysia to take his deposition.

His father Muslimin is of the key figures of the MNLF and is being considered to be appointed as a member of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission.

The commission is vital in drafting a new Bangsamoro Basic Law, which the Duterte administration hopes will end more than four decades of fighting in Mindanao.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza on Friday declined to comment by phone to CNN Philippines on Mohammad Abduljabbar's arrest due to "sensitive implications" on the peace negotiations.

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