ZAMBOANGA CITY (Zamboanga Journal / 28 May) A Muslim policeman was shot dead Sunday by an unidentified gunman in the troubled island of Jolo in the southern Philippines, where security forces were fighting members of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group, official reports said.
The latest attack came ahead of the arrival of the United States Navy hospital Mercy for a series of medical mission in Jolo. The ship is still in Zamboanga City and would be heading for Jolo next week.
The gunman fled after the attack in Jolo town and taking with him the policeman's pistol. It said the victim Najir Abbas was shot near the public square around 7 a.m.
No individual or group claimed responsibility for the killing, but spate of attacks on Jolo has alarmed both civilians and traders.
At least four soldiers and two civilians were killed the past two weeks in gangland-style executions in the capital town. In March, an Abu Sayyaf bomb ripped through the second floor of a department store in Jolo, killing 9 people.
A policeman Henry Elumbaring was also shot dead and a civilian was kidnapped and beheaded in February also in Jolo town. And many more killings on the island largely blamed on the Abu Sayyaf remain unreported for fear of reprisals by their relatives.
Washington listed the Abu Sayyaf as a foreign terrorist organization and offered as much as $5 million bounty for its top leaders, including Khadaffy Janjalani, believed to be the al-Qaeda contact in the Philippines.