PETALING JAYA: A suspected Abu Sayyaf gunman believed to be involved in the Sipadan kidnapping off Sabah 17 years ago has been arrested in the southern Philippines.
According to Philippine newspapers, Abdulmubin Kudalat Salahuddin was apprehended at 10.45pm on Thursday in Barangay Guiwan, Zamboanga City.
Abdulmubin, known as Mubin, is believed to be supplying firearms and ammunition to the Abu Sayyaf group based in Sulu.
He was intercepted by the police and military intelligence units and backed by the Joint Task Force Zamboanga and the 5th Special Action Force Battalion.
He was found with a sling bag containing a fragmentation grenade.
Abdulmubin worked as a security guard in a local mall.
Zamboanga City police chief Diomarie Albarico said investigations showed Abdulmubin was involved in the April 23, 2000 kidnapping, where 21 people, including nine Malaysians, 10 Europeans, and two Filipino resort staff, were brought to Sulu as captives by the militants.
They were later released in batches following huge ransom payments.
It was the first kidnapping staged by the Abu Sayyaf outside the Philippines.
The news reports said Abdulmubin managed to obtain work as a security guard in one of the local agencies, as he was able to acquire a licence and pertinent documents such as clearances.
Abdulmudin, however, denied being an Abu Sayyaf member, citing that he has no criminal record as shown by the clearances issued to him.
According to police, further investigations are being conducted into Abdulmudin’s possible motives for disguising himself as a security guard.