ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Feb. 9, 2011) – Philippine authorities captured Wednesday an Abu Sayyaf militant whose group is tied to al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah blamed for deadly bombings in the restive southern region of Mindanao, officials said.
Officials said intelligence agents captured Abu Walid in an operation in Zamboanga City. Walid was being linked by the military to the kidnapping of dozens of civilians in Lamitan town in Basilan province in June 2001.
“Abu Walid has been captured in Zamboanga City and is undergoing interrogation. He was involved in the Lamitan kidnappings in 2001,” said Army Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang, a regional military spokesman.
It was unknown whether Walid or his group was planning an attack in Zamboanga City which was previously bombed by militants.
Cabangbang did not say if Walid took part in the kidnappings of three US holidaymakers and over a dozen Filipino tourists at a posh resort in Palawan province.
The Abu Sayyaf raided the resort before heading with their hostages to Lamitan town where they also raided a hospital and a Church and herded dozens of innocent civilians, including a Catholic priest who was tortured and eventually killed. One of the Americans, Guillermo Sobero, was also killed and his body left in the forest.
The group also seized a dozen farmers and used them as shield and later beheaded as they made their escape from pursuing troops. More than two dozen soldiers were killed and injured in the fighting in Lamitan town. (Mindanao Examiner)