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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Hostage taker in 2000 Sipadan kidnapping caught with grenade

Abdulmubin Salahuddin was arrested in Zamboanga City for his alleged role in being one of the Abu Sayyaf abductors who took 21 people from the island resort 17 years ago.
sipadan-kidnap-abu-sayyaf-1PETALING JAYA: A suspected abductor who operated with the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group in southern Philippines to kidnap 21 people from the resort island of Sipadan in Sabah 17 years ago has been arrested.
The Philippine SunStar news portal reported that Abdulmubin Salahuddin was caught by police and military personnel while working as a security guard assigned to a shopping mall in Zamboanga City in western Mindanao on July 13.
It said he was found with a grenade in a sling bag that he was carrying during the arrest at 10.45pm.
The report on Friday quoted Zamboanga City police officer-in-charge Diomarie Albarico as saying that based on investigations Abdulmubin was involved in the kidnapping of 10 Europeans and Middle Easterners as well as 11 Malaysian resort workers on April 23, 2000 in Sipadan.
He was also believed to be supplying firearms and ammunition to the Abu Sayyaf who were based in Sulu.
Albarico was quoted as saying that Abdulmubin managed to be employed as a security guard in a local agency by acquiring a licence with relevant clearances and documents.
The report also said he denied being an Abu Sayyaf member, claiming that he had no derogatory record of misconduct as shown by the clearances issued to him.
It however did not elaborate on what he planned to do with the grenade.
The abduction was Abu Sayyaf’s first kidnapping outside the maritime borders of the Philippines.
Abdulmubin was allegedly one of six heavily armed men who landed on a speedboat at Sipadan on the night of the incident with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.
The group rounded up the 21 people who were in a dining hall at the resort and took them to an Abu Sayyaf jungle base in the Philippine island of Jolo.
It led to a protracted hostage crisis that ended on September 16 that year when the Philippine army mounted a rescue mission to save all the abductees except dive instructor Roland Ullah who was only freed in 2003.
While holding the hostages the Abu Sayyaf had reportedly issued various demands for release of Islamist militant prisoners, including Ramzi Yousef who was convicted of the World Trade Centre bombing in New York in 1993.
They had also demanded US$2.4 million and a complete withdrawal of government troops from the area around Jolo.
In November last year, Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Chairman Nur Misuari claimed that Malaysian leaders had been behind the kidnap-for-ransom activity by using Moro militants to do the work.
He said certain Malaysians were also involved in subsequent similar abductions, hiring his own cadre officers in the 2000 incident, with demands for ransom amounting to millions of dollars.
Misuari also claimed that Malaysian officials sent feelers to him for a meeting in Saudi Arabia and in Indonesia through his nephew.
“I said: ‘Stop it, I don’t have the heart to see these people after they make this conspiracy to destroy the honour and integrity of my people,” he said. -FMT

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