GOVERNMENT agents arrested two members of the Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf Group accused of abducting members of a religious group in 2002.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in a statement identified the suspects as Anwar Sabarul Mohotoh and Julmain, who were arrested in separate operations in Quiapo, Manila and Quezon City respectively.
The Abu Sayyaf, the most violent extremist group in the Mindanao region, kidnapped six Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW) in Basilan province on Aug. 20, 2002. The terrorist group beheaded two other victims, according to the NBI statement.
The Abu Sayyaf has used terror both for profit and to promote its jihadist agenda, according to the US National Counterterrorism Center. The group engages in kidnappings for ransom, bombings, assassinations and extortion.
The two suspects have warrants for kidnapping and serious illegal detention. Government agents acted on a report that the two had been spotted in the cities where they got arrested.
The NBI said Jumlain remained an active member of the terrorist group while he was at large and was a “trusted man” of Isnilon Hapilon, the group’s leader who plotted that attack on Marawi City in 2017. Law enforcers later killed Hapilon and Omar Maute at the end of the siege.
Jumlain’s job was to accompany Abu Sayyaf leaders to and from Marawi City and other areas in Mindanao and Palawan province, according to the NBI. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas