MANILA, Philippines — Police said they have arrested an alleged financier of the Abu Sayyaf who had been intercepted on his arrival in the country from Saudi Arabia late last month but been released.
Senior Superintendent Wilson Asueta, National Capital Region director of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, said Abulbatta Abubakar, alias “Kitong” and “Imran,” was arrested on kidnapping and serious illegal detention charges for his alleged involvement in the 2000 Sipadan kidnapping.
The suspect allegedly sent money to Abu Sayyaf leaders Radullan Sahiron and Isnilon Hapilon from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Hapilon led gunmen who occupied Marawi City in May and battled government forces for five months until he and another extremist leader, Omar Maute, were killed recently, signaling the end of the battle.
The arrest of Abubakar followed that of Rasdy Malawani, also known as Rasdi Macabangkit, who allegedly collected funds and remitted these to the Maute group.
Asueta said Abubakar had been arrested on his arrival in the country on September 26 but was immediately released by the Bureau of Immigration for lack of evidence.