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Abu Sayyaf co-founder nabbed in Jakarta
MANILA, Dec 16 (AFP):
Published on 16 Dec. 2009 11:07 PM IST
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The Philippines announced on Wednesday one of the co-founders of the Abu Sayyaf extremist group had been arrested after being detained at Jakarta airport using a false passport. Indonesian authorities picked up Abdul Basir Latip at Jakarta airport on November 21, but he was only brought back to Manila on Wednesday, said Philippine National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) spokesman Ricardo Diaz. He is accused of serving as a conduit of funds between al-Qaeda leaders in Saudi Arabia and the Abu Sayyaf, a local Muslim extremist group blamed for the worst terror attacks in Philippine history, said Diaz. "His involvement was not as a fighter but as a finance officer and the conduit for al-Qaeda to facilitate transfer of funds to the ASG (Abu Sayyaf group)," said Diaz. The United States is also seeking Latip's extradition for the Abu Sayyaf's kidnapping of American missionary Charles Walton in the southern Philippines in 1993, Diaz added. The NBI said Latip was a founding member of the Abu Sayyaf and had worked with its spiritual leader, Khadaffy Janjalani, who the Philippine military killed in 2006. Latip, who was allowed to speak with reporters after arriving in Manila, denied any direct links to the Abu Sayyaf. "I was not a member of the ASG but I am a close friend of Janjalani," he said. Latip said he was returning home to the Philippines from Jordan when he was detained during a stopover at Jakarta.

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