WASHINGTON – A founding member of a terrorist group has pleaded guilty in the kidnapping of 16 people, including four Americans, at a Philippine resort 15 years ago.
During an appearance in federal court Wednesday, Madhatta Haipe admitted that he and several armed members of the Abu Sayyaf (AH'-boo SEYE'-yahf) Group kidnapped the vacationers for ransom.
Haipe was extradited from the Philippines to the U.S., and at his sentencing Dec. 14 he will face up to life in prison on each of four counts of hostage taking.
Abu Sayyaf is suspected of having received funds and training from al-Qaida and is on a U.S. list of terrorist organizations.
Its bombings, ransom kidnappings and beheadings of hostages have made it the Philippines' most brutal rebel group.