Two alleged members of Abu Sayyaf Group were arrested by police inside a mall in Zamboanga City on Friday.
Police identified them as Emran Ismael, alias Bantong Basinti, and Brayan Mohammad, alias Pojong Attiun.
The two were arrested by virtue of warrant of arrest for kidnapping with serious illegal detention issued by RTC Branch 1 in Isabela City, Basilan.
Police said the suspects were involved in the kidnapping of 15 people at Golden Harvest Plantation, Barangay Tairan, Lantawan in Basilan on June 11, 2001.
They were tagged by two witnesses who are under the government's witness protection program.
Police said the suspects were under the wing of Isnilon Hapilon.
Hapilon, one of the top leaders of Islamic State-inspired extremists Maute group, was killed in a military assault on Oct. 16, 2017.
Ismael, in an interview, said the accusation hurled against him is baseless.
Before the abduction in Basilan, his family already relocated to Zamboanga del Norte, he said.