ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Government troops have arrested two suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits involved in a botched kidnapping Saturday in the province of Sulu, a top military official said.

Colonel Alan Arrojado, Joint Task Group Sulu commander, said they launched pursuit operations after the botched kidnapping of Adelaida Hablo, a businesswoman and a resident of the village of Gandasuli, Patikul.

Arrojado identified the two arrested Abu Sayyaf bandits as Ayatulla Arabah and Jurpin Abduhalim.

Arrojado said the duo was arrested by members of the Army's 35th Infantry Battalion and policemen around 7:25 p.m. Saturday in the village of Buhanginan, Patikul.

He added that Arabah has standing warrant of arrest for murder. A caliber .45 pistol was confiscated from Abduhalim's possession.

The troops have recovered two motorcycles abandoned by the Abu Sayyaf bandits, Arrojado said.

Hablo was aboard a tricycle that was waylaid by four bandits around 5:15 p.m. Saturday in front of the Notre Dame High School for Boys in the village of Busbus, Jolo, the capital of Sulu.

But the businesswoman managed to escape and ran toward a police detachment and sought help, prompting the policemen on duty to respond.

Arrojado said the Abu Sayyaf bandits fired at the responding policemen but missed their targets. They fled on foot to different directions, leaving behind two motorcycles and a four-wheel getaway vehicle.

He said the bandits involved in the botched kidnapping are followers of Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Ninok Sappari who are operating in the hinterlands of Patikul. (Sunnex)