MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine security forces have arrested two Abu Sayyaf militants during a raid in Zamboanga City on Tuesday for their involvement in the kidnapping of an American teen and an Australian man.

By joint security forces from Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC), Philippine National Police and military in Sangali village, Jimmy Nurilla and Bakrin Haris, who are described as active members of the Abu Sayyaf, were captured in their hideout in Sangali in the port city of Zamboanga. The city is in a volatile region where the Abu Sayyaf group has carried out kidnappings for ransom, bombings, extortion and other acts of banditry.

Fox News reported that Nurilla kidnapped Kevin Lunsman, 14, who escaped from his abductors in 2011 after being held for five months in Basilan Island, and Warren Richard Rodwell, an Australian, who was freed last March near the provincial capital of Pagadian City.

Inspector Dahlan Samuddin said two other bandits, identified by their first names as Leo and Walid, managed to escape and are being hunted by security forces.

“There is an operation right now and we are tracking down those who escaped,” Samuddin told The Manila Times.

According to the Philippine military, the Abu Sayyaf has an estimated 400 members at the moment. The group was founded in the early 1990s in Basilan about 880 kilometers south of Manila.


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