ZAMBOANGA, Philippines – The Philippine defense chief says a senior commander of the Abu Sayyaf extremist group involved in bombings and kidnappings has surrendered and hopes this may bring the "eventual collapse" of the militants' southern stronghold.
Military officials say Nurhassan Jamiri surrendered with 13 of his men to army forces in southern Basilan province Wednesday. He also handed over 10 assault rifles and a large cache of ammunition.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana says Jamiri's surrender, which came after negotiations with authorities, "will hopefully bring the eventual collapse of the Abu Sayyaf group in Basilan," the birthplace of the small but violent group.
Jamiri has been blamed for years of bloody attacks, including a 2007 ambush that killed 24 Philippine marines, several of whom were beheaded.