Friday, November 20, 2009

Sayyaf terror leader killed in Southern Philippines

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / November 20, 2009) – Government soldiers killed an Abu Sayyaf leader implicated in kidnappings for ransom and terrorism in a clash in the restive Muslim province of Basilan, south of the Philippines, officials announced Friday.

Officials said Abdullah Ajijul alias Abu Termiji, was slain following a firefight with security forces in the town of Al-Barka on Wednesday. A regional military chief, Marine Major General Benjamin Dolorfino, said Ajijul was the head of the Abu Sayyaf’s urban terrorist group blamed for the series of bombings in Zamboanga City.

“Ajijul is a big loss to the Abu Sayyaf because he headed the urban terrorist group which was behind the spate of attacks in Zamboanga City,” Dolorfino told the independent newspaper the Mindanao Examiner.

He said the slain militant leader, who had a three million pesos bounty for his capture, was involved in the kidnappings early this year of three state teachers Janette de los Reyes, Freires Quizon and Rafael Mayonado in Zamboanga City. The trio was held in Basilan province and freed four months later after private negotiators paid millions of pesos in ransom.

Dolorfino said troops tracked down the terror leader at a hideout in the village of Cambug and killed him in a firefight. “It was a long and special intelligence operation that led troops to Ajijul’s hideout in Basilan,” he said.

He said Ajijul, a native of Curuan village in Zamboanga City, was on the list of the military’s order of battle and included on the government’s most wanted list.

Dolorfino said Ajijul was the younger brother slain Abu Sayyaf leader Amilhamja Ajijul, blamed for the killing of a US soldier participating in a joint military drill in a bomb attack on a roadside eatery in Malagutay village in Zamboanga City in 2002, and the bombings of Shop-O-Rama and Shopper's Central department stores here that left dozens of civilians dead and wounded.

Ajijul’s group was also implicated in the twin bombings in downtown Zamboanga City in 2007 that injured 26 people. The military also implicated Ajijul in the kidnapping of US citizen Jeffrey Craig Schilling in Sulu province and dozens of Filipinos in Basilan in 2000.

“After his brother’s death, the young Ajijul took over the urban terrorist group that Amilhamja originally founded in Zamboanga and since then engaged in kidnappings and bombings,” Dolorfino said.

Troops killed the elder Ajijul, a key Abu Sayyaf bomber and his father, Andalul, in a firefight in Curuan village in Zamboanga City.

The Abu Sayyaf is on a US list of terrorist organizations and Washington has offered as much as $10 million bounty for the capture of the group's known leaders. (Mindanao Examiner)

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