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Friday, 3 May, 2002, 07:59 GMT 08:59 UK
Abu Sayyaf officer arrested
Abu Sayyaf shout
The Abu Sayyaf is behind kidnapping and banditry
An alleged intelligence officer for the Abu Sayyaf group has been arrested in the southern Philippines, accused of more than 60 acts of kidnapping and murder.

Police inspect General Santos bomb damage
Police are investigating the suspect's role in recent bombings
Salid Abdullah, 46, described by the Philippine military as an intelligence officer for the Abu Sayyaf and a key aide to a leader of the group, was arrested on Thursday night near the southern city of General Santos.

Philippine authorities are still investigating whether he had anything to do with a series of bombs which rocked the city last month, killing 15 people.

A man who said he represented the Abu Sayyaf has claimed the group carried out the bombings.

Kidnap and murder

Senior Superintendent Jorge Aquisap said that Mr Abdullah had a 150,000-peso ($2,940) bounty on his head, and is accused of kidnapping and multiple murder on the southern island of Basilan.

The charges against him include the abduction and killing of a Roman Catholic priest, Father Roel Gallardo, two years ago.

Map of Philippines

The suspect had tried to lock himself in a cabinet, holding his own two-year-old son hostage, but was convinced by his wife to surrender, Mr Aquisap said.

The island of Basilan is where two US hostages are currently being held by the Abu Sayyaf.

Military officials said on Friday that elite US-trained Philippine forces were on standby to rescue Martin and Gracia Burnham, missionaries from Wichita, Kansas, once their location has been pinpointed.

Earlier this week an Abu Sayyaf spokesman said his group were no longer prepared to negotiate for the hostages' release and would kill the couple if they were cornered by the military.

See also:

01 Jun 01 | Asia-Pacific
Who are the Abu Sayyaf?
01 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
Rebels threaten to kill US hostages
11 Jun 01 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Negotiating with the Abu Sayyaf
29 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
US troops dig in on Basilan
30 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
Philippine 'rebels' killed in clash
20 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
US troops arrive on hostage island
19 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
South-East Asia's terror clampdown
18 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
US troops arrive in Basilan
14 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
US troops join war on Abu Sayyaf
01 Jun 01 | Asia-Pacific
Philippine troops battle kidnappers
22 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
Mayor shot dead in northern Philippines
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