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NBI arrests 2 suspected Abu Sayyaf men wanted for 2002 kidnapping

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Wednesday said it has arrested two suspected Abu Sayyaf men allegedly involved in the kidnapping of members of Jehovah's Witness in Sulu in 2002.

NBI agents and military and police officers arrested Anwar Sabarul Mohotoh and Julmain, who both face standing arrest warrants for kidnapping and serious illegal detention, on July 12 and July 17, respectively.

Anwar was arrested on the strength of the warrant in Quiapo, Manila after the NBI received information that he was hiding in Metro Manila, the bureau said.

Julmain, on the other hand, was arrested in Culiat, Quezon City, where the NBI said he had set up a food stall business and assumed the name "Maomar" while hiding from authorities.

The NBI said Julmain was a "trusted man" of the late Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, whom government forces killed in October 2017, and "was tasked to accompany other ASG sub-leaders to and from Marawi City and other areas of Mindanao and Palawan."

Citing information from its counterpart law enforcement units, the NBI said Julmain remained an active member of the Abu Sayyaf's Urban Terrorist Group - Special Operations Group while in hiding. He had also recruited members into the terrorist group before he was arrested, the bureau said.

A "victim/witness" in the kidnapping case positively identified the man prior to his arrest, the bureau said. After the arrest, the man said his official name is Adzhar Hadjula Mannan. 

The two arrested men are wanted in connection with Abu Sayyaf bandits' abduction of six Jehovah's Witness members and their Muslim guides in Sulu on Aug. 20, 2002. Two of the kidnapped preachers were beheaded. Some victims escaped, and the last remaining victims were reportedly rescued by the government in May 2003. — RSJ, GMA News