By Roy Ramos
ZAMBOANGA CITY, the Philippines (AA) – Philippine police intelligence operatives have arrested two members of a Daesh-affiliated militant group accused of trying to kidnap a businessman in the predominantly Christian southern city of Zamboanga.
Chief Insp. Edilberto Alvarez, chief of the city police's Intelligence Section, told reporters Thursday that Alhnur Bacalso Usup, 28, and Jamal Sapie Labuan, 32, of the Abu Sayyaf were arrested after a road chase after being cornered at dawn Thursday.
"We arrived at the safe house at dawn, but they [the two militants] sensed our arrival and we heard a motorcycle suddenly cranked its engine and realized our targets were about to escape. I yelled at my men to chase the suspects," Alvarez said.
Alvarez said Usup has a pending warrant of arrest for murder in the nearby majority Muslim island province of Sulu.
Two stolen motorcycles were recovered at the hideout raided in the village of San Roque, while the suspects were found to be in possession of a grenade, three plastic sachets containing methamphetamine hydrochloride, also known as meth or "ice", and several drug paraphernalia.
Alvarez said Labuan and Usup were followers of Idang Susukan, a Sulu-based Abu Sayyaf sub-commander, on a mission to abduct a businessman in San Roque.
Since 1991, the Abu Sayyaf -- armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles -- has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortions in a self-determined fight for an independent province in the Philippines. The group has pledged allegiance to Daesh.
It is notorious for beheading victims after ransoms have failed to be paid for their release.