Filipino Islamist wanted by US arrested in the Philippines

Manila: An alleged Islamist militant wanted by the United States was arrested in the Philippines on Wednesday, police and the military said.

Khair Mundos was captured at his sister’s house in the Manila suburban city of Paranaque, said Chief Inspector Elizabeth Jasmin, a spokeswoman for the police’s crime investigation unit.

Mundos carries a bounty of 500,000 dollars from the US State Department, which identified him as a key leader and financier of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group.

The Philippine government has also offered a reward of 5 million pesos (116,200 dollars) for information leading to Mundos’ arrest.

Major General Eduardo Ano, the military’s intelligence chief, said Mundos led bombing attacks by the Abu Sayyaf group and channelled funds from international terrorist groups to the Abu Sayyaf.

“Those people lost one of their leaders and they’re feeling insecure because their boss was captured,” he said. “In a few days, we expected to capture other bombers in Mindanao.”

While the capture took place on the eve of the Philippines’ Independence Day, Ano said there was no monitored threat against ceremonies to be held Thursday.

Mundos was previously arrested in 2004 on suspicion of money laundering, but he escaped detention in 2007 and has since been in hiding.

The Abu Sayyaf has been blamed for the deadliest bombings and high-profile kidnappings of foreign hostages in the Philippines.