A government soldier holds his machine gun as he guards Jolo island in the southern Philippines. Military officials on Saturday 25 Nov 2006 say that soldiers capture a wanted Abu Sayyaf militant, Annik Abbas, in nearby island of Basilan. (Mindanao Examiner)
ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 25 Nov) – Government soldiers in the southern Philippines have recaptured a wanted Abu Sayyaf militant who escaped a provincial prison in 2004, officials said on Saturday.
Officials said troops captured Annik Abbas also known as Abu Annik in the village of Colonia near Tuburan town on Basilan island before midnight Friday. Abbas was driving a motorcycle when soldiers intercepted him, said Major Eugene Batara, a regional army spokesman.
Batara said a government spy helped soldiers capture the militant. “Informants helped us capture the notorious Annik Abbas who escaped from prison in Basilan in 2002,” he told the Mindanao Examiner.
He did not say if soldiers seized any weapons from Abbas or whether the militant was meeting with the Abu Sayyaf or planning an attack. Batara said the militant is being investigated at a military base in Basilan.
“We are still investigating Abbas for his role in past kidnappings-for-ransom and killings on the island. There is an operation going on in Basilan to track down other militants,” he said.
Philippine military chief General Hermogenes Esperon on Friday ordered soldiers to intensify the hunt for Khadaffy Janjalani, the chieftain of the Abu Sayyaf group tied to al-Qaeda, and his lieutenants, including two Jemaah Islamiya bombers Dulmatin and Umar Patek, both wanted by Indonesia for the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people and the 2003 JW Mariot hotel bombing in Jakarta.
Police in Zamboanga City also killed an Abu Sayyaf hit man late Thursday and captured two more after a fire fight in the village of Ayala. The fighting broke out after the militants attacked cops who were sent to arrest them. One militant was able to elude arrest, said Supt. Angelito Casimiro, chief of the regional police intelligence division.
Casimiro said the Abu Sayyaf was behind the spate of killings of policemen and soldiers in Zamboanga City and Jolo island.
Washington listed the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya as foreign terrorist organizations and offered as much as $10 million bounty for Dulmatin’s capture and another $5 million for Janjalani’s head and $1 million reward for Patek. (Mindanao Examiner)