Security forces captured a suspected Abu Sayyaf militant in the central Philippines on Tuesday, more than two years after he allegedly aided in the September 2017 kidnapping of the son of a mayor in Zamboanga del Norte province, police officials said.
The suspect, identified as Jimmy Igpit Marababol, is believed to be an Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) member who was hiding out in the city of Cebu, said Brig. Gen. Edgar S. Monsalve, chief of the police’s intelligence group.
“He has been is hiding in Cebu for almost a year now. He is an ASG member who is also known for his affiliation with the radical Daulah Islamiyah terror group,” Monsalve said.
Daulah Islamiyah is the local name for Islamic State (IS).
Monsalve said Marababol did not resist arrest when police raided his hideout in the village of Tinago before noon on Tuesday.
An arrest warrant had been issued by the Regional Trial Court in Zamboanga del Norte against Marababol, who had been in Cebu for more than a year and had been working as a rice trader, according to Brig. Gen. Valeriano de Leon, regional police chief. Marababol was among six suspects who allegedly abducted Jade Quimbo, son of Labason Mayor Eddie Quimbo, the state-run Philippine News Agency reported.
Founded to fight for an independent Muslim state in the southern third of this predominantly Catholic nation, ASG was led by Afghan-trained Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani, who was killed in 1998.
Janjalani was replaced by a younger brother, who would mastermind cross-border kidnapping raids, including the abduction of 10 European and 11 Asian hostages from the Sipadan diving resort in Malaysia in 2001. All the hostages were later freed after reported ransom payments, but the kidnappings raised ASG’s international profile.
The majority of ASG’s key leaders have since been killed by the military.
One of them, Isnilon Hapilon, became the head of the IS group in the region and led militants in taking over the city of Marawi, the Philippines’ only Muslim city, in May 2017. He was killed five months later by the military near the end of a battle that claimed about 1,200 lives, a majority of them militants.
Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan took over as IS leader in the Philippines and led a January 2019 attack by Indonesian suicide bombers that killed 23 people at a Catholic Church in Jolo, Philippine officials said.