Abu Sayyaf member arrested on Christmas Day
MANILA, Philippines – An Abu Sayyaf member behind the abduction of two European birdwatchers in 2012 was arrested Wednesday, December 25, in Jolo, Sulu.
Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Senior Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac said Aik Asgali (aka Abu Aswad) was arrested during a joint operation by the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) around 5 pm Wednesday at the vicinity of Marites St, Barangay San Raymundo.
"He is still under custodial debriefing while waiting to be transported to Zamboanga City," Sindac added.
Abu Aswad served as a trusted operative of Abu Sayyaf leader Radullan Sahiron in 2012. Sources earlier told Rappler that Sahiron coordinated with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) commander Tahil Sali to transfer the two Europeans from Tawi-Tawi to Patikul, Sulu. (READ: Kidnapped Europeans now with Abu Sayyaf in Sulu)
The sources added they were brought to Abu Sayyaf leader Yasser Igasan, but authorities in Western Mindanao insisted they have not been handed over to the group. (READ: Abducted Europeans still in Tawi-Tawi, AFP insists)
The Europeans – Ewold Horn, from the Netherlands, and Lorenzo Vinciguerra, from Switzerland – were seized while birdwatching in Panglima Sugala, Tawi-Tawi. (READ: 2 Europeans seized in Tawi-Tawi)
A third colleague, Filipino guide and photographer Ivan Sarenas, managed to escape from their kidnappers. – Rappler.com