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Eight Abu Sayyaf militants nabbed in KL

One suspect is believed to be member of kidnap-for-ransom Philippine group

KOTA KINABALU Eight suspected Abu Sayyaf terror group militants - Malaysians and Filipinos - have been captured in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysian police arrested the southern Philippine-based militants, including one of the Abu Sayaff leaders, Hajar Abdul Mubin, in an operation in Cheras last Wednesday, the eve of Malaysia's National Day.

Hajar, also known as Abu Asrie, was arrested with another Filipino, Abraham Embung, 29, and six Malaysians of Filipino descent from Sabah.

Hajar, 25, is believed to be a member of the Lucky 9 group, which has links to the Abu Sayyaf group based in jungles of Jolo and Basilan islands in the southern Philippines.

The Malaysians, aged between 20 and 52, are believed to be from Sandakan in Sabah and were working in KL.

Some of the suspects were security guards and members of the Civil Defence Corp, sources said.

According to Philippines intelligence sources, the Lucky 9 gang was involved in kidnap-for-ransom activities in Jolo.

They were known to kidnap victims for ransom payments of 10,000 pesos (S$265).

Some members of the group have links with the Abu Sayyaf gunmen currently on the run in Jolo, following a full-scale war by Philippines security forces against the group responsible for numerous cross border kidnappings in east coast Sabah.

According to sources, Hajar slipped into Malaysia in 2015 after meeting with Malaysian Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants Mahmud Ahmad, Mohd Najib Hussein and Muhammad Joraimee in Basilan.

Mahmud and several other Abu Sayyaf leaders, including Insalon Hapilon, were in the June attacks on Marawi - the biggest Muslim-majority city in the Philippines - in Mindanao.

The ongoing conflict in Marawi between ISIS and the Philippine government is a reflection of its attempts to set up a caliphate in South-east Asia. 
- THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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