3 suspected Abu Sayyaf extremists arrested in Philippines

3 suspected Abu Sayyaf extremists arrested in Philippines
File photo: In 2000, Yusof used his contacts in Southern Philippines to facilitate communication with the Abu Sayyaf gunmen (above) on Jolo island where they were holding the 21 hostages.

ZAMBOANGA CITY-A supposed attempt by Abu Sayyaf to snatch victims in this city was foiled following the arrest of three suspected bandits on Sunday, the city police said.

Senior Supt. Angelito Casimiro, city police chief, on Monday said suspected Abu Sayyaf members Jerry Intimani, Gabir Masturan and Samara Akbaw had planned to snatch a pharmacy owner here and a 12-year-old boy.

Casimiro said they got information that the three men were acting suspiciously and that they might be armed.

This led the police to apply for a warrant and search the men's safe house in Sitio Karagasan in Barangay Maasin.

He said that during the raid, authorities seized two cal. 45 pistols and a fragmentation grenade from the suspects. The police took custody of a speedboat moored nearby after it was ascertained that the suspects had used it.

Casimiro said further investigation revealed that the three men belonged to the Sulu-based faction led by Hairula Ahadi.

Charges for illegal possession of firearms and explosives are now being readied against them and the police are also investigating their possible links with past kidnappings here, he said.

The Abu Sayyaf, a ragtag band of self-styled Islamists with ties to the Jemaah Islamiyah, figured in such high-profile kidnapping as the 2000 Sipadan hostage crisis and the Dos Palmas raid.

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