ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine government intelligence operatives arrested an Abu Sayyaf member, tagged in the kidnapping of Malaysian Sipadan tourists almost 17 years ago, during a raid in a coastal village here, local senior police official said on Friday.
Chief Superintendent Billy Beltran, regional police director, said Faizal Jaafar, a Sulu-based Abu Sayyaf known with the aliases of Jaafar Mundi, Abu Jaafar, Aren, Ben, and Abu Raba, was arrested at a safehouse past 12:30 a.m local time on Friday in the village of Cawit, west of the city.
Beltran said Jaafar, facing 87 counts of kidnappings with serious illegal detention, was captured by a joint law enforcement team.
The charges included in the warrant issued by an Isabela City, Basilan court and Puerto Princesa, Palawan court also include murder and illegal possession of firearms, according to Beltran.
He said Jaafar's arrest stemmed from his involvement in the Sipadan kidnapping incidents in April 2000 where 21 tourists, including 10 Europeans, nine Malaysians, and two Filipino resort staff where taken from the dive resort off Sabah and brought to Sulu by the Abu Sayyaf group.
The victims were only freed in batches after payment of ransom during the five months crisis.
Beltran commended the operating units of police and military in the arrest of Jaafar who were be brought to Bicutan jail in Taguig, Manila.
The police director also urges the general public to continue its support and cooperation with the authorities by providing timely and relevant information on any terrorist who may be hiding in their respective places.