Green light to question kidnapping suspect Kadafi Muktadil

KOTA KINABALU: Manila is ready to allow the Malaysian police to question captured cross-border kidnapping suspect Kadafi Muktadil and a second suspect linked to the beheading of Sarawakian hostage Bernard Then.

"In the spirit of partnership, the Philippines side is open to granting access to the Malaysian police to these two suspects once a formal request has been made and the parameters for the access are finalised," the Philippines embassy in Kuala Lumpur said in a statement yesterday.

The arrest of Kadafi, also known as Kadaffy Kamsa, and Saddam Jailani was a significant breakthrough in the continuing efforts to achieve justice in the death of Then in Jolo, a southern Philippines island, on Nov 17.

The embassy statement comes after Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the police wanted the duo extradited to Malaysia for their roles in cross-border kidnappings.

The embassy said it looked forward to closer and enhanced co-operation between Philippines and Malaysian police in addressing the menace of kidnapping and other types of crime.

Malaysia and the Philippines do not have an extradition treaty, but they could work together under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.

Kadafi and his twin brother Mindas were involved in the kidnapping of Then and restaurant manager Thien Nuk Fun from the Ocean King Seafood Restaurant in Sandakan on May 14.

Mindas was killed a week later by Philippines police in Jolo.

Thien was released unharmed on Nov 8, but the militant Abu Sayyaf group under Alhabsi Misaya beheaded Then following what was believed to be failed negotiations over the ransom.

Kadafi was arrested by the Philippines security forces at a Jolo hospital after he was injured in a motorcycle accident on Saturday.

Two other brothers - Nikson and Badong, the masterminds in the kidnap group - escaped. Saddam was arrested on Nov 25 in Jolo.

Meanwhile, all enforcement agencies have been asked to identify and arrest enemies within the Eastern Sabah Security Zone.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said these enemies who are involved in helping criminals and terrorists from across the border should be identified and acted against.

"We want them (enforcement agencies) to identify these enemies within and we will pick them up one by one," he said after co-chairing the National Action Planning Committee meeting in Tawau yesterday.

He said there was a need to solve this problem because it was among the main threats to peace-loving Sabahans.

On the identification of Bernard Then, who was beheaded by Abu Sayyaf gunmen on Nov 17, Khalid said the authorities had sent DNA samples from the family to the Philippines for confirmation.

Armed Forces chief Jen Tan Sri Dr Zulkifeli Mohd Zin said among the issues discussed at the meeting were tackling obstacles during operations to increase their effectiveness.