(UPDATED) The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) arrested two suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf Group in Zamboanga City.
The suspects were identified as Hood Abdullah, also known as "Jiking" and Jimmy Bla, also known as "Bin Laden" and "Assan."
Abdullah was arrested in an operation last February 27, 2018, while Bla was arrested shortly after midnight into the next day.
The two have standing warrants of arrest for kidnapping and serious illegal detention.
The two were allegedly involved in a kidnapping incident in June 2001 in Lantawan, Basilan, where they abducted employees of a plantation, and in August 2002 in Patikul, Sulu, where members of a religious group were abducted.
Based on initial information, Abdullah was working as a security guard in Zamboanga City, while Bla claimed to be an ordinary fisherman.
Authorities said Abdullah has known ties with kidnap for ransom groups in the area, while Bla was still actively supporting kidnap for ransom operations by providing material and logistical support.
The two were also positively identified by former kidnapping victims, officials said.
PNP Chief Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa said the arrest of the two sends a message to the terrorists that the government is after them.
"We want to send a message sa mga terorista na pagtutulong tulungan namin sila. Hindi namin sila tatantanan. The NBI, PNP and all other law enforcement agencies will work hand in hand para ma-address 'yung problema natin sa terrorism, so magtutulungan kami palagi," he said.
No weapons nor illegal drugs were recovered from the suspects. - reports from Niko Baua and Zhander Cayabyab, ABS-CBN News