(AFP/Borneo Bulletin) – Soldiers have arrested two senior commanders of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf kidnap gang in separate incidents, including one in the Philippine capital Manila, officials said Monday. Ibno Alih Ordonez, wanted for murder and several kidnappings, was arrested last Thursday in the financial centre of Makati, where he ran a bus service for an exclusive school, Defence Secretary Eduardo Ermita said. Ordonez was involved in numerous kidnappings including the abductions of more than 50 Christian students and teachers in the southern island of Basilan in 2001. Several hostages were killed in that incident, including a Catholic priest who was tortured and shot in the head. Ordonez is listed as the seventh most wanted Abu Sayyaf leader with a bounty of one million pesos (18,000 dollars). He was formerly a guard at the Basilan provincial jail and was believed to have scouted for potential victims. The suspect is also a cousin of Abu Sabaya, the Abu Sayyaf’s notorious spokesman killed in a gunbattle with US-assisted Filipino commandos in 2002. In another development, troops nabbed an aide of Abu Sayyaf chieftain Khadaffy Janjalani outside an Islamic library in the southern island of Jolo on Sunday, the head of an anti-terror task force said. Joselito Nasara, also known as Commander Abu Sophian, who is wanted for murder and kidnapping, surrendered without a fight, Brigadier General Gabriel Habacon said. He has been taken to the southern city of Zamboanga and is being questioned over possible links to the Jemaah Islamiyah regional extremist group, Habacon said without elaborating. The Abu Sayyaf is a small group of self-styled Islamic militants blamed for a spate of kidnappings and bomb attacks on foreigners and Christians in the south, including the murders of two Americans kidnapped in 2001. It was tagged a terrorist organisation by the US and Philippine governments who have linked the group to the al-Qaeda network of terror mastermind Osama bin Laden.

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