By JIM GOMEZ
2009-05-20 08:33 PM
The five Abu Sayyaf group members were arrested after arriving at Manila's international airport. One is being sought by U.S. authorities for a past terrorist attack, officials said.
The five _ Mohammad Hatta Haipe, Borhan Mundos, Gulam Mundos, Suffian Salih and Hasim Talib _ were arrested in Malaysia in recent years for immigration law violations.
Philippine security officials believe Mundos served as an Abu Sayyaf finance officer and had links to the Indonesia-based regional militant group Jemaah Islamiyah, which has been blamed for deadly bombings, kidnappings and beheadings, the anti-terrorism council said.
Mundos has been linked to a 2002 bomb attack in a department store in the Philippine southern port city of General Santos, it said.
Salih and Talib were allegedly involved in the April 2000 kidnappings of 10 European tourists and 11 Malaysian and Filipino workers from a dive resort in Sipadan, Malaysia, the council said. The hostages were freed after huge ransom payments were made, reportedly funded by Libya.
U.S. authorities are expected to seek access to Haipe, who is suspected of involvement in an unspecified past terrorist attack that targeted Americans in the Philippines, according to two police officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
The U.S. Embassy declined to comment on Haipe, except to say it was aware he has been turned over to the Philippines.
The Abu Sayyaf has about 400 fighters and has been blamed for numerous kidnappings, bombings and beheadings. It is believed to have received funds from al-Qaida and is on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations.