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Philippines Arrests Suspected Terrorist With Links to al-Qaida

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The Philippines police have arrested a suspected member of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf, who had been working as security guard in the capital.

The police said Friday that Arabani Jakiran was arrested Thursday at the plush Manila condominium where he worked as a security guard. Jakiran is suspected of taking part in the abduction of hospital staff in the southern island of Basilan in 2001. Some of the captives were killed as police hunted down the kidnappers.

Abu Sayyaf, which claimed to be fighting for a Muslim homeland in the southern Philippines, became best known for a series of kidnappings for ransom. Police and Southeast Asia terrorism experts say the group has links to both the al-Qaida network led by Osama bin Laden and the Jemaah Islamiyah Islamic militants based in Indonesia.

Police officials say the arrest was part of a new crackdown on members of Abu Sayyaf and members of Jemaah Islamiyah living in the country.

Also Friday, police in Manila blocked a planned march to the U.S. Embassy to protest the killing of Osama bin Laden earlier this week in Pakistan by U.S. Navy SEALs. About 70 protesters, who gathered after Friday prayers at a mosque in the city, disbanded peacefully afterward.

The Philippines has a predominately Christian population but it has a large Muslim minority, mostly living in the country's southern islands.

Article by VOA News