MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine police commandos captured an alleged Abu Sayyaf militant Tuesday who has been implicated in several atrocities, including the beheadings of marines, a major jailbreak and deadly attacks.
Police served more than a dozen arrest warrants to Ismael, who uses the nom de guerre Patah Hamjak and was found in Isabela city on southern Basilan island, birthplace of the Abu Sayyaf extremist group, said Paquito Ochoa Jr., who heads the Philippine Anti-terrorism Council.
Ochoa said Ismael is accused of involvement in the 2007 beheadings of 10 marines in Basilan's Al-Barka township and a 2009 attack that allowed 31 mostly Muslim insurgents to escape from the provincial jail.
Those who escaped included Dan Laksaw Asnawi, a key commander of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebel group, who has also been implicated in the 2007 beheadings.
Police have also accused Ismael of buying the police commando fatigues that were worn by Abu Sayyaf militants who fired on civilians and detonated bombs in a bold attack that killed 14 people in Isabela city two years ago.
The Abu Sayyaf is the smaller but more brutal of at least four Muslim groups that have been fighting for decades for a separate homeland in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation's south.
It is estimated to have less than 400 fighters but is still considered a major security menace despite many battle losses and the loss of several leaders.