Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sayyaf leader wounded in Southern Philippine clash

Police patrol in Basilan province in the southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

BASILAN, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Jan. 20, 2011) – A militant leader of the Abu Sayyaf group tied to al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya has been shot and wounded in the southern Philippine province of Basilan, officials told the Mindanao Examiner on Thursday.

Officials said troops were tracking down Nur Hassan in the town of Al Barka after he was shot in a clash on Wednesday. He is one the most notorious Abu Sayyaf leaders wanted by authorities for the string of bombings and kidnappings in Basilan, one of five provinces under the restive Muslim autonomous region.

“Operating troops are still in the area and per intelligence reports Nur Hassan Jamiri was reported wounded,” said Army Colonel Nicanor Dolojan, commander of military forces in Basilan.

He said the fighting erupted in the mountain village Kabun Pababag in Tipo-Tipo town after troops captured an Abu Sayyaf encampment and clashes spread to Al Barka where some 50 militants headed by Jamiri had fled.

Security officials initially said one soldier was wounded in the fighting, but later died from his chest wounds.

The Abu Sayyaf, which means the 'bearer of the sword,' is still holding a wealthy Chinese-Filipino trader kidnapped in December in Basilan.

The Abu Sayyaf, which the military said has links with both al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya, has been largely blamed for the spate of terrorism and killings in the southern Philippines.

Just this month, militants had killed five bedding merchants in Basilan’s Mohammad Adjul town, three days after Dolojan’s group shot dead an Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Patti Kabulot and his follower in a raid on a village in Tipo-Tipo town also in Basilan. (Mindanao Examiner)

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