THE NATIONAL Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Tuesday said it had arrested two members of the Abu Sayyaf Group involved in a kidnapping incident in 2002.

The men, who had been ordered arrested for kidnapping several members of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Patikul, Sulu in southern Philippines, were nabbed in separate operations on Oct. 12 and 19 in Pasay City near the capital, the NBI said in a statement.

A witness had identified the two suspects from a photo line-up, it said.

NBI officer-in-charge Eric B. Distor said they launched the operation based on information received by the bureau’s Counter-Terrorism Division.

Casing and surveillance operations were conducted by the office along with their counterparts in the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The suspects were being detained at the NBI detention facility in Manila.

Agents have arrested five Abu Sayyaf members this year, Mr. Distor said.

The Abu Sayyaf is much feared for its banditry, piracy and kidnap-for-ransom business, with targets that include Europeans and seamen from Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Some hostages were held for years and beheaded when ransom was not paid, among them a German and two Canadians.

The group  has used terror for profit and to promote its jihadist agenda, according to the US National Counterterrorism Center. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas