Wednesday, February 02, 2011
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Feb. 2, 2011) – Philippines authorities are investigating a captured Abu Sayyaf militant tagged as part of gang that kidnapped 21 mostly European and Asian hostages in a cross-border raid in Malaysia in 2000, officials said.
Officials said Arabi Sali, also known as Amil Sali, was captured by security forces in an operation late Tuesday afternoon in Bongao town in Tawi-Tawi province near the Sabah border.
“He is charged with serious illegal detention with ransom for his role in the kidnappings,” said Army Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang, a regional military spokesman.
He said the militant was also linked to the 2000 kidnapping of a group of Christian preachers in Sulu province and over a dozen Filipino and American holidaymakers at a posh resort in Palawan province in the Philippines.
It was unknown how security forces tracked down Sali or whether he was planning a terror attack in Tawi-Tawi, one of five provinces under the troubled Muslim autonomous region in Mindanao.
Cabangbang said the militant is expected to be flown to Manila for further investigation.
The Abu Sayyaf is a small, but the most violent rebel group blamed for the spate of kidnappings-for-ransom and terrorism in the southern Philippines and has been suspected as behind the recent bombing of a bus in the country’s financial district that left 5 people dead.
Authorities said the group ahs links with Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda terror network and the Indonesian extremist group called Jemaah Islamiya. (Mindanao Examiner)