Sunday, February 21, 2010

6 Sayyaf killed in Sulu clashes

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Feb. 21, 2010) – Philippine soldiers killed at least 6 Abu Sayyaf militants in fierce clashes Sunday in the southern province of Sulu, official told the Mindanao Examiner.

Officials said three soldiers were also slightly wounded in the fighting that erupted in hinterland village of Karawan near Indanan town, a known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf blamed for the spate of terrorism and kidnappings in the restive region.

“We have killed at least six militants and recovered their weapons. Three of my soldiers are slightly wounded in the fighting,” said Marine Brigadier General Rustico Guerrero, commander of military forces in Sulu, who is leading the offensive against the militant group tied to al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya.

He said a platoon of marine special unit and reconnaissance soldiers assaulted an Abu Sayyaf camp in Karawan, a mountain complex straddling several towns and a known lair of the militants.

Lieutenant General Benjamin Dolorfino, the regional military commander, said there were reports that a senior Abu Sayyaf leader wanted by the US government was among those killed in the clashes.

“We have reports that Albader Parad or Doctor Abu was among those killed and we are trying to verify this information,” he said.

Dolorfino said troops were fighting Abu Sayyaf forces under Albader Parad and Abu Jumdail, also known as Doctor Abu because of his alleged ability to cure wounded militants.

Both leaders are wanted by the Philippine and US authorities for their involvements in the kidnappings of American citizens and the killing of two US Special Forces soldiers in Sulu in the past.

Other reports in Sulu province said Parad was among those killed in the fighting which began as early as 4:00 a.m. It said Moro National Liberation Front rebels under former rebel chieftain Nur Misuari also fought soldiers side by side with the Abu Sayyaf.

The MNLF signed a peace agreement with Manila in September 1996, but many of the rebels were disgruntled with the accord and accused the government of failing to comply with the provisions of the deal.

The accord promised the rebels a massive livelihood aid and housing programs, including a mini-martial plan in areas where there are large Muslim communities to help them uplift their standard of living. But many disgruntled MNLF members have either joined the Abu Sayyaf or engaged in kidnappings-for-ransom. (Mindanao Examiner)

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