Philippines hold two over hostage murders

September 14, 2012
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MANILA, Philippines – Two al-Qaeda-linked militants were arrested in the Philippines in connection with the 2001 kidnapping of a group of tourists in which two were murdered, AFP reported Thursday (September 13th).

The Abu Sayyaf members were arrested on the southern island of Mindanao on Wednesday following an 11-year manhunt for the killers of Christian missionary Martin Burnham and a fellow American citizen, Peru-born Guillermo Sobero.

Regional military commander Major-General Ricardo Rainier Cruz said Jojo Imam Pai and a second suspect identified only by the military as "Aling" are to stand trial for the double murder and kidnapping of 20 tourists.

Abu Sayyaf militants raided the Dos Palmas Island beach resort in the western Philippines in 2001 and forced 20 local and foreign tourists – as well as local staff – into boats, taking them to the gunmen's Basilan Island stronghold.

Most of the hostages were eventually released after ransoms were paid, but the kidnappers beheaded Sobero and brought Burnham and his wife Gracia Burnham, also a missionary, to another hideout on Mindanao Island near Basilan.

Martin Burnham was killed by the kidnappers and his wife was wounded in a military rescue attempt in 2002.

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