Philippine police arrest Abu Sayyaf militant

Abu Sayyaf group is known for its widespread kidnapping

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Philippine authorities have arrested a suspect Haik Asgali, a Muslim militant accused of kidnapping two Europeans last year.

Police spokesman Reuben Theodore Sindac said Thursday that the suspect was arrested in Sulu province in a joint police and military operation.

Asgali and his accomplices kidnapped Dutch Ewold Horn and Swiss Lorenzo Vinciguerra while they were on a bird-watching trip in southern Tawi Tawi province in Feb. 2012, said Sindac.

The militants from the Abu Sayyaf group are holding for ransom more than a dozen captives. U.S.-backed military offensives have crippled the group in recent years but it remains a key security threat.

The same group kidnapped Al Arabiya’s correspondent Baker Atyani.

Sindac says Asgali is a trusted operative of Abu Sayyaf leader Radullan Sahiron, one of the most wanted terrorist suspects in the country.

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