THE recent arrest of two Abu Sayyaf group members in Zamboanga City aborted the bandit's plan to kidnap another businessman in the city, a top police official said Friday.

Zamboanga Peninsula Police Office (ZPPO) Director Edwin Corvera said the group was planning to snatch a new victim on the time of its two member's arrest.

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Police operatives have arrested Jhon Buhari Jamiri and Adjik Halik last Wednesday in one of the houses at Villa Margarita, Barangay San Roque, six kilometers west of Zamboanga City.

Abu Sayyaf, which has about 400 fighters on Basilan and nearby islands, has been blamed for many recent kidnappings, along with deadly bombings and beheadings. The group has been blacklisted by Washington as a terrorist organization.

Jamiri, who carries a reward of P600,000, is facing 14 counts of murder and 12 counts of frustrated murder, while Halik, who has a reward of P350,000, is facing charges of kidnapping and serious illegal detention with ransom.

Corvera, however, did not disclose who could be the possible target for kidnapping by Jamiri and Halik except in saying that the two are planning to kidnap a prominent businessman in the city.

Jamiri and Halik were arrested four days after 60-year-old businessman Vicente Barrios was freed by his captors in the nearby Basilan province.

Barrios was released by his kidnappers in the village of Guiong in Sumisip, Basilan, two months after he was seized by unidentified gunmen last June 18 in Zamboanga City.

Police are still investigating Jamiri and Halik to determine the extent of their involvement in the kidnappings.

Jamiri was involved in the killing of 14 marine troops, 10 of whom were beheaded, on July 10, 2008 in the village of Guinanta, Albarka, Basilan while Halik was involved in the kidnapping of 21 people, including 10 Europeans, from Sipadan, Malaysia in April 2000, Corvera said.

The hostages were herded to the province of Sulu where they were released in batches after alleged payment of huge ransom to the Abu Sayyaf group.

Corvera said that Halik was also involved in the kidnapping of five employees of the Basilan Electric Cooperative on June 26, 2008. (Bong Garcia)