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Abu Sayyaf Top Leader Arrested

Joint police and military forces have arrested an Abu Sayyaf mid-level leader in this southern port city Thursday, the police said.

The police identified the arrested Abu Sayyaf sub-leader as Alawie Pasihul, who carries the aliases of Ustadz Alawie Jaji and Ustadz Usman.

The police said that Pasihul was previously an official of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Special Force Command MinSuPala (Mindanao-Sulu and Palawan) with a rank of Brigadier General.

Pasihul was arrested on the strength of warrant of arrest around 3:10 p.m. Thursday along Rizal Street, Barangay Zone IV in downtown Zamboanga City, according to the police.

The police said that Pasihul is facing charges for kidnapping and serious illegal detention for his alleged involvement in the March 20, 2000 kidnapping of 54 people in Sumisip municipality, Basilan province.

The victims, mostly school children, teachers and the slain Claretian priest Fr. Roel Gallardo were seized by the Abu Sayyaf bandits from two schools in Barangay Tumahubong, Sumisip town.

The Abu Sayyaf have killed Gallardo and four teachers–three males and one female–while the rest of the hostages were either released and have managed to escape during clashes with pursuing military forces.

The police said that Pasihul was also involved in the November 27, 2002 Cabatangan siege by a group of MNLF rebels in Zamboanga City.

More than a hundred people, including women and children, were held hostage by the rebels led by the late Julhambri Misuari, a cousin of MNLF leader Nuruladji Misuari.

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