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Senior Abu Sayyaf Leader Believed Captured

Philippine soldiers captured a senior leader of the Abu Sayyaf Islamic militant group believed responsible for kidnapping 21 people from a Malaysian resort in April 2000, officials said Sunday. Ghalib Andang, known as Commander Robot, was captured by soldiers Sunday evening in the southern Philippines after being wounded in a firefight, a military spokesman and other army sources said. “He’s alive but wounded,” military spokesman Daniel Lucero told reporters, adding he would be flown back to Manila and possibly presented to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Monday. The victims of the kidnapping from the Sipadan resort in Malaysia came from seven different nations and were held for periods varying from a few months to three years. Ransoms are believed to have been paid in most cases. The Abu Sayyaf group is one of several Islamic militant groups fighting the government in and around the southern island of Mindanao and has been linked by Washington to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network. Andang was not one of the five Abu Sayyaf members on a wanted list issued by the United States. Full Story

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