Mistaken identity? Kin of suspected IS supporter cry foul over US blacklist

Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 12 2018 06:07 PM | Updated as of Feb 13 2018 07:15 AM

Alleged Abu Sayyaf member Abulpatta Abubakar was arrested in Quezon City in 2017.

MANILA (UPDATED) - Relatives of Abdulpatta Abubakar on Monday cried foul over the U.S. Treasury's move to place him on a blacklist for allegedly supporting the Islamic State militant group.

According to U.S. authorities, Abdulpatta Escalon Abubakar of the Philippines, Yunus Emre Sakarya of Turkey, and Mohamed Mire Ali Yusuf of Somalia all provided financial, material, and technological support to the Islamic State.

Abubakar, an alleged Abu Sayyaf member believed to be involved in a kidnapping incident in Sabah, Malaysia 17 years ago and said to have continued funding the terror group, was arrested in Quezon City in 2017.

Relatives of the Filipino, however, said the accusations against Abubakar are false, adding that his case was that of mistaken identity.

"Di ko nga alam kung bakit nasama siya sa listahan ng mga 'yun, eh ang pagkakaalam ko wala siyang ginagawang masama," said Laji, brother of Abubakar.
 
He said his sibling had been working in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia since 1997 where he is active as a community leader. 

Immigration officials first arrested the suspect in September 2017 when he came home from Jeddah. He was released due to lack of evidence.

The suspect's arrest came after he was said to be among Abu Sayyaf members involved in a kidnapping incident at the Pulau Sipadan resort in Sabah on April 23, 2000. 

The terrorists allegedly brought their victims to Barangay Talom in Jolo, Sulu. Witnesses said they saw Abubakar guarding the Abu Sayyaf camp there. 

But his relatives denied that Abubakar is part of a terrorist group, saying Philippine authorities failed to prove his alleged involvement in the Sipadan kidnapping that led to his release.

Another case filed last October 26, 2017 by his wife was also amicably settled.

Controversies, Laji said, have greatly affected their family.

Abubakar has a son who serves in the Philippine Navy.

"Marami ng nag-suffer. Pamilya niya, asawa niya, mga anak niya, nanay namin. Maraming nadamay dahil idyan," Laji said.

Abubakar is currently detained in Camp Crame.