World Bulletin / News Desk
An Abu Sayyaf member accused of funding the terror group who was allegedly involved in the kidnapping of 21 tourists in Malaysia was arrested by Philippine authorities last week in Quezon City, Manila.
The Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-National Capital Region (NCR) in coordination with the Military Intelligence Group-NCR nabbed Abulpatta Escalon Abubakar, also known as “Kitong” or “Imran” last Thursday, chief Senior Superintendent Wilson Asueta was quoted by local media as saying at a press briefing Tuesday.
Abubakar was implicated for his alleged involvement in the kidnapping of 10 tourists from Europe and the Middle East and 11 Malaysian resort workers at the Pulau Sipadan resort in Sabah, Malaysia on April 23, 2000, Asueta added.
Asueta also insinuated that Abubakar had been financing the terror group while he was in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia since 1997 until this year through Abu Sayyaf leaders Radullan Sahiron and Isnilon Hapilon – the alleged appointed emir of Daesh in Southeast Asia who led the attack on Marawi on May 23 together with the Maute group.
Hapilon’s death early this month led to the liberation of the besieged Philippine city from a five-month crisis, the longest urban battle in the history of the Philippines and deemed the most significant terrorist event in Southeast Asia in the last 15 years.
Abubakar was previously arrested in September when he returned to the country from Saudi Arabia but was immediately released by the Bureau of Immigration as his identity was not clearly substantiated.
Since 1991, the Abu Sayyaf -- 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 Islamic province in the Philippines.
It is notorious for beheading victims after ransoms have failed to be paid for their release.
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