Philippines asks court to outlaw Abu Sayyaf

The Philippine government has asked a court to outlaw the Abu Sayyaf as a terrorist group and blacklist more than 200 of its Islamic fighters blamed for two decades of bombings, kidnappings and beheadings, officials said Monday.

The Justice Department recently lodged its petition against the al-Qaida-linked group with a trial court in southern Basilan province — the Abu Sayyaf’s birthplace — in the first known government attempt to ban a rebel group under a 2007 anti-terrorism law.If approved, the measure would criminalize membership in the Abu Sayyaf and allow authorities to freeze financial assets of militants more rapidly and limit their travel.

Washington has listed the Abu Sayyaf as a terrorist group and deployed hundreds of troops to the southern Philippines in 2002 to provide combat training, weapons and intelligence to Filipino soldiers battling the militants.

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