Monday, January 16, 2006

U.S. To Give Reward To Filipino Informant who Identified Terrorist

he U.S. government will hand over a US$100,000 reward to a Filipino who helped authorities capture a member of the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf group last year, the American Embassy announced. The money will be given to a "courageous individual who stood against terrorism" in ceremonies Monday at the military's Southern Command headquarters in Zamboanga city, the embassy said in a statement, without identifying the recipient.
A soldier looks at a gallery of wanted Abu Sayyaf guerrillas
Embassy spokesman Matthew Lussenhop said the captured Abu Sayyaf member, Toting Hanno, is suspected of taking part in the abduction of three Americans _ missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham, and Guillermo Sobero _ from a Philippine resort in May 2001. Sobero was later killed and a year later while Martin Burnham died in a military rescue while his wife was wounded. Hanno was arrested in May 2002, but escaped from the Basilan provincial jail a year later. He was recaptured in January last year on an island off Zamboanga, about 860 kilometers (538 miles) south of Manila. The U.S. government has already paid hundreds of thousands of dollars (euros) in rewards for the capture and killings of Abu Sayyaf members and leaders, including about US$359,600 to three men who helped locate Hamsiraji Sali, a key Abu Sayyaf commander who was killed in a clash with government troops in 2004. U.S. counterterrorism training of Filipino troops has been credited with their battlefield successes against the Abu Sayyaf. The group is on a U.S. list of terrorist organizations.