Philippine authorities have arrested a leading member of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf militant group in the southern island province of Basilan.
Senior Inspector Gean Gallardo said Nasser Usman - suspected of involvement in a 2001 siege on Lamitan City – was arrested at around 01.15 local time Tuesday in the village of Tandung Ahas.
"[The] subject has standing warrants of arrest for his involvement in the Lamitan siege in June 2001… [and] for kidnapping and serious illegal detention," Gallardo said.
Usman, who works as a teacher at a public high school in Tandung Ahas, formerly served as an Abu Sayyaf lieutenant tasked with Islamic propagation and indoctrination.
Authorities have identified Usman as one of the fighters who took part in the 2001 siege, when medical personnel were taken hostage.
In subsequent raids following the siege, the same Abu Sayyaf group took dozens of people hostage. While the majority escaped or were freed, around 16 were beheaded.
Usman was allegedly also involved in a 1995 seige in Zamboanga Sibugay province, where Abu Sayyaf members disguised in military uniforms raided Ipil town. During the attack, 53 people were killed and 30 taken hostage, while banks and shops were looted.
Police said Usman also had a role in kidnapping several teachers and students from two schools in Tumahubong village in 2000. Among the victims, a priest and three teachers were killed.
AALast Mod: 28 Ekim 2014, 14:34