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Abu Sayyaf suspect in US priest’s kidnap falls

MANILA, Philippines—A suspected Abu Sayyaf bandit believed to be involved in atrocities in Mindanao, including the kidnapping of an American priest in 1994, was arrested in Basilan on Thursday.

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) reported Friday that Jumli Orie Manjuri, alias Salam, was arrested at noon in Barangay Cabunbata, Isabela City, by a joint team of agents from the CIDG and the intelligence unit of the Philippine Air Force.

In a report to Director Samuel Pagdilao Jr., CIDG chief, Senior Supt. Edgardo Danao, CIDG head in Region 9, said the authorities served on Manjuri, who carried a P350,000 bounty on his head, court orders for his arrest on charges of kidnapping with frustrated murder and serious illegal detention.

Pagdilao said Manjuri was one of the trusted men of notorious Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, and was involved in the kidnapping of Fr. Clarence William Bertelsman, an American Catholic priest.

Bertelsman was seized by the Abu Sayyaf on July 31, 1994, in a chapel in Jolo, Sulu, but was rescued hours later.

Manjuri was also allegedly involved in an encounter between Abu Sayyaf and government forces in Barangay Baungis, Sitio Busay, Lantawan, Basilan, in 1998, in which 14 members of the military’s Special Forces Operational Course were killed.

In April 2008 Manjuri figured in an attack on three coconut farm workers in Barangay Pangasaan, Tairan, Lantawan, Basilan.

Last month, CIDG and military agents arrested in Zamboanga City a subcommander of the Abu Sayyaf who was involved in the killing of American Guillermo Sobero, one of several hostages that the bandits seized from the resort island of Sipadan, off Palawan, in 2001.

The authorities captured Alawie Pasihul, alias Ustadz Asman, 42, a resident of Campo Islam, Zamboanga City, and a known follower of the slain Abu Sayyaf leader Abdurajak Janjalani.

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