BURNHAM KIDNAPPER NABBED

Southern Philippines military commander Lt. Gen. Narciso Abaya (right) presents a captured Abu Sayyaf rebel Hussein AbdulmamanZamboanga City, Feb. 12, 2003 -- Philippine security officials on Tuesday presented a captured member of the al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group, tagged as one of the kidnappers of US missionary hostage Martin Burnham, killed by rebels last year in Mindanao island.

Southern Command military commander Lt. Gen. Narciso Abaya presented Hussein Abdulmanan aboard a navy ship where he is undergoing interrogation. Abdulmanan was in handcuffs when heavily-armed soldiers brought him out from his small detention cell in the BRP Bacolod City now docked here.

"He is one of them and he's involved in the kidnapping," Abaya said. He implicated the rebel in the kidnapping May 27 of Martin Burnham from a resort in Palawan province in the central Philippines. He said the rebel was one of those who guarded Burnham in the jungle of Sibuco town in Zamboanga del Norte province.

Guerrillas shot and killed Burnham and Filipino hostage Deborah Yap last June during a military rescue operation. Burnham's wife Gracia was also shot and wounded by the kidnappers, but was rescued by soldiers.

Abaya said the rebel was wounded in the fighting when troops stormed their hideout, managed to escape, and hid until his capture in Zamboanga City.

Abaya did not say if Abdulmanan was among those who killed the hostages. "He is being interrogated and we are trying to get all important information from him...his role in the kidnapping of the Burnhams and the killing of the hostages," he told reporters.

Security officials said Marine soldiers captured Abdulmanan near the Philippine Navy base in the village of Calarian village on Saturday. It was unknown if Abdulmaman was spying or not and officials would not say details of his arrest.

The Abu Sayyaf beheaded in June 2001 US kidnapped victim Guillermo Sobero. Sobero ands the Burnhams were kidnapped along with 17 Filipinos in Mayo 27, 2001 from the posh Dos Palmas resort in Palawan province in the central Philippines. Most of the Filipinos had escaped or freed by rebels after their family reportedly paid huge ransom. (Al Jacinto, PHNO Mindanao Bureau)


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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