ZAMBOANGA CITY – Security forces in Zamboanga City in southern Philippines have arrested an Abu Sayyaf militant linked to the kidnappings of 21 mostly foreign holidaymakers in Malaysia’s posh island resort of Sipadan in 2000, police said Friday.
Police said Abdulmubin Kudalat Salahuddin, who is employed as a security guard, was arrested on July 13 in the village of Guiwan. Salahuddin is also said to have supplied illegal weapons and ammunition to Abu Sayyaf fighters in Sulu province where government troops are battling the extremist group.
Chief Inspector Helen Galvez, a regional police spokeswoman, said a fragmentation grenade was also seized from Salahuddin’s bag during his arrest. “Salahuddin is said to be involved in the Sipadan kidnapping incident and is also said to be supplying firearms and ammunition to the Jolo-based Abu Sayyaf group,” she said.
The Abu Sayyaf freed all Sipadan hostages after Malaysia and Libya paid as much as $25 million ransom to the militants.
Galvez did not identify Salahuddin’s security agency, but said the militant works in one of the local shopping malls. It was unknown how Salahuddin managed to apply for work as a security guard or where he got the weapons he supplied to the Abu Sayyaf.
“He is employed as security guard by one of the security agencies operating in Zamboanga City and is assigned in one of the malls in the city. The suspect and the recovered explosive are now under police custody,” she said.
Salahuddin is currently being interrogated by the police, but details of the investigation were not immediately available. Dozens of militants had been arrested or captured by authorities in Zamboanga City the past years. Militants had also bombed civilian targets in Zamboanga in previous attacks. (Mindanao Examiner)
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