World, Asia - Pacific

Philippines: Abu Sayyaf bomb expert captured in south

Military says sub-leader of Daesh-affiliated group nabbed alongside follower in Basilan island province

Ekip   | 01.07.2016
Philippines: Abu Sayyaf bomb expert captured in south FILE PHOTO


By Hader Glang

ZAMBOANGA CITY, the Philippines 

The Philippines’ military announced Friday that a bomb-maker from a Daesh-affiliated militant group was captured in a majority Muslim southern island province.

Soldiers and police nabbed Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Mudzrih Abih Adjalan -- alias “Idol” -- and a suspected follower, identified as Yasin, during a joint operation around dawn in Ungkaya Pukan town in Basilan, according to a military statement.

Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., Western Mindanao Command spokesman, described Adjalan as being well trained in manufacturing improvised explosive devices and involved in surveying possible bombing targets in major cities in the area, including predominantly Catholic Zamboanga.

"The subject was arrested by virtue of a warrant of arrest for kidnapping and serious illegal detention," Tan said.

Tan blamed Adjalan for the killing of two men in Lamitan City in June 2013.

"The military and police continue to exhaust all efforts to neutralize the Abu Sayyaf Group in the province," he said.

Last month, the Abu Sayyaf beheaded a second Canadian hostage in nearby Sulu island province after a deadline set by the group for the delivery of a 600 million peso ($13 million) ransom was missed.

The militants later released his Filipina partner, but a Norwegian national who was kidnapped alongside them from Samal Island last September remains in captivity.

Since 1991, the Abu Sayyaf group -- armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles -- has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortions in a self-determined fight for an independent province in the Philippines.

It is notorious for beheading victims after ransoms have failed to be paid for their release.

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