Sayyaf Man Nabbed In South RP

February 6, 2008 at 12:01 pm | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Feb. 06, 2008) – Philippine authorities arrested a suspected Abu Sayyaf militant long wanted over a string of murder and kidnapping cases in the southern island of Basilan, officials said Wednesday.

Police originally arrested Al-muadz Ismael for stealing a motorcycle Tuesday afternoon in the village of San Rafael in Isabela City, but later found out about his links with the Abu Sayyaf group that beheaded a kidnapped US tourist Guillermo Sobero almost eight years ago.

Sobero was among two American missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham and 17 Filipino holidaymakers kidnapped in May 2001 by the Abu Sayyaf at the posh Dos Palmas resort in Palawan province in central Philippines. The hostages were brought by boat to Basilan island where the gang beheaded Sobero a month later during the country’s Independence Day celebration.

Martin was also killed and his wife wounded during a US-led rescue operation in Zamboanga del Norte province in 2002. Three other Filipinos were killed in captivity and the rest had either escaped or paid huge ransom for their freedom.

Officials said they are investigating Ismael about his role in the Dos Palmas kidnappings and the killing of Sobero. The alleged executioner of Sobero, Annik Abbas alias Abu Anik, was captured in Basilan’s Lamitan town in November 2006, two years after he escaped from prison in the island.

The Abu Sayyaf which is also called “al-Harakatul al-Islamiya” or “Bearer of the Sword” is included in the US list of foreign terrorist organizations and has been linked to many bombings the past two decades in the Philippines, including an attack on a ferry on the Manila Bay that killed more than 100 passengers in February 2004.

The group was also tagged as behind a roadside bombing that killed a US soldier Sgt. 1st Class Mark Wayne Jackson, of the 1st Special Forces Group, participating in a joint anti-terror drill in Zamboanga City in southern Philippines in October 2002. (With a report from Ely Dumaboc)

(With a report from Ely Dumaboc)

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