Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sayyaf Man Arrested In Southern Philippines

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / June 26, 2008) – Philippine soldiers arrested a member of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group in the southern island of Sulu, where security forces are tracking down militants blamed for the recent kidnapping of a television news crew.

Army Major Eugene Batara, a spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command, said soldiers arrested Jul Akram Hadjail near Sulu’s airport in Jolo town. He said the militant is facing criminal charges from various cases in Sulu and had a P150,000 bounty for his capture.

“Jul Akram Adjail is being interrogated by the military in Sulu. We are investigating whether he is also involved in the kidnapping of the television news crew in Sulu,” Batara told the Mindanao Examiner.

Police and military blamed the Abu Sayyaf for the June 8 kidnapping of ABS-CBN television reporter Ces Drilon and her cameramen Jimmy Encarnacion and Angelo Valderama, including a Muslim university professor Octavio Dinampo in Maimbung town.

They were freed separately in two groups after a week allegedly in exchange for P20 million ransoms.

Police also arrested Sulu town Mayor Alvarez Isnaji and his son Haider after implicating them in the kidnapping. They were also accused of pocketing up to P3 million from then ransom payment, but the mayor, who was handpicked by the Abu Sayyaf to negotiate for the release of the hostages denied the allegations.

Thousands of troops are not hunting down about three dozen militants involved in the kidnapping. The United States has offered as much as $5 million bounty each for known leaders of the Abu Sayyaf. (Mindanao Examiner)

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