Janjalani brother captured
- Christina Mendez, Paolo Romero () - December 29, 2000 - 12:00am
A leader of the Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyaf has been captured in Manila, senior military and police officers said yesterday.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Angelo Reyes confirmed the capture of Hector Janjalani, also known as Abu Escobar and believed to be the new leader of the extremist group.

The captive is the brother of slain Abu Sayyaf founder Abubakar Abdurajak Janjalani and Khadafy Janjalani, who took over in 1998. The Abu Sayyaf has been involved in various kidnapping and bombing incidents in Basilan and Sulu in the past few years.

Janjalani is believed to have led the kidnapping of 77 teachers and students in Basilan last March. It was not clear how Janjalani had made it to Manila from Sulu despite the military operation in the southern island.

Philippine National Police Intelligence Group (PNP-IG) director Chief Superintendent Romulo Sales and deputy director Senior Superintendent Michael Ray Aquino also confirmed the capture of Janjalani.

They declined to give details of the arrest until a formal presentation before the media.

However, highly reliable sources from Camp Crame said the younger Janjalani and another Abu Sayyaf leader were arrested in a Muslim area of Quiapo, Manila on Dec. 22 by elements of the Special Action Force, an elite police unit under the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force. The identity of Janjalani’s companion has been withheld pending a background check.

Several high-powered firearms were recovered from the two men, the sources said.

They said the captured Abu Sayyaf leaders are being interrogated in connection with the abduction of American Jeffrey Schilling.

The American and Filipino Roland Ullah have been held by an Abu Sayyaf faction, led by Ghalib Andang, that went on a hostage-taking spree last April.

Most of the hostages in Sulu were released after ransom was paid, but in September the government launched a military assault to recover the others.

The captured Janjalani, a resident of Barangay Tabuk, Isabela, Basilan, is chief of the Abu Sayyaf Special Staff in the province and head of the Urban Demolitionists and Intelligence Staff.

Intelligence sources said the bandit had been temporarily named as the new chief of the Abu Sayyaf during a meeting in a mosque in Isabela last Dec. 20.

During the same meeting, Janjalani’s group reportedly planned to conduct bombing operations in Zamboanga City during the holidays.

On Jan. 17, 2000, Janjalani masterminded the strafing of the Isabela wharf in the port of Basilan. No one was hurt in the incident.

Last year, his group planned to conduct terrorist activities during President Estrada’s visit to Basilan to embarrass Gov. Wahab Akbar.

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