ZAMBOANGA CITY: Government troops on Wednesday captured a member of Abu Sayyaf suspected of plotting to bomb civilian targets here.
Officials said a composite team of police and military commandos swooped down on the seaside village of Baliwasan and captured the rebel who uses the alias of Abu Darren.
Darren was tagged in the kidnappings of 21 mostly European holidaymakers from the posh Malaysian resort of Pulau Sipadan in 2000. He was also linked by police to a foiled kidnapping at a pearl farm resort in Davao that left two people dead in 2001.
Inspector Dahlan Samuddin, a regional police spokesman, said Darren has a string of criminal cases.
“Subject was also identified by a government witness as involved in kidnapping incidents with the Abu Sayyaf group in Davao and in Sidapan in 2001. Subject is believed casing probable bombing targets within Zamboanga City proper,” Samuddin said.
Authorities are interrogating Darren to further determine his mission, but it was not immediately known whether the rebel was acting alone or with companions.
Police did not say if security forces seized any weapons or explosives from Darren.
The Abu Sayyaf, which means “bearer of the sword,” has been linked by the Philippines and United States to al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya. The rebel group was also tagged as behind the spate of terrorism and ransom kidnappings over the last two decades.
The Abu Sayyaf is still holding several foreigners and Filipinos in captivity in the troubled region.