Commander of Sulu gunmen detained: Malaysia

Posted at 03/23/2013 4:51 PM | Updated as of 03/24/2013 10:51 AM

MANILA -- Malaysian security forces have crippled the movements of Filipino gunmen from Sulu after capturing their commander in Semporna, Malaysia's state news agency Bernama reported Saturday.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the man, who is believed to be in his 40s, and his wife, were caught at around 10 p.m. Friday in Kampung Tanduo and is now being held under the Immigration Act, the agency said.

The commander's name was not revealed.

A local resident who provided the gunmen's needs since last month was also detained by Malaysian security forces, Malaysian authorities said.

"The local coordinator has been identified as the individual who made arrangements for food and drinks, accommodation, transportation and medicine for the terrorists since the early part of the intrusion. With the capture of the commander and a local stooge of the terrorists, I am confident the terrorist group is now crippled," Khalid said.

Meanwhile, many residents in the area of the conflict are still reluctant to return to their homes but authorities say they are taking steps to make sure the area is safe.

Khalil said that to date, 408 people have been detained for numerous offenses, and 63 members of the Sulu royal army have been killed.