Tuesday, November 01, 2011

2 Abu Sayyaf sub-leaders, 3 others killed in Philippine offensive

A military armored vehicles drives through a busy road in Sulu province in the southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 31, 2011) – The Philippine military on Monday said two of 3 Abu Sayyaf militants killed were sub-leaders and that there were probably two more casualties in military air strikes in Sulu’s hinterlands.

The Western Mindanao Command, which ordered the air strikes on a mountain hideout of the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya on Sunday, identified the slain sub-leaders as Ben Wagas and Apo Mike, and a follower Abu Abad.

Latest military intelligence report also said that two more Abu Sayyaf militants – Sali Madarang and Andag – were killed in the raid.

“We have identified the bodies of those killed and two of them were notorious Abu Sayyaf sub-leaders. Two other (militants) were reported killed Sali Madarang and Andag,” Army Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, a spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command, told the Mindanao Examiner.

He said government operation is continuing against the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya, including those who are harboring or protecting the terrorist groups. “This operation will go on as long as the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya and those that are protecting them,” the official said.

Air force OV-10 bombers targeted the groups’ hideout in the mountainous area of Karawan in Indanan town.

The targets of the operation were Abu Sayyaf leader Umbra Jumdail alias Doc Abu, and several Jemaah Islamiya terrorists, among them were Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan, and Mauiya, an Indian citizen; who are all wanted by the US government on terrorism charges.

There was no report if any of the three men were killed or wounded in the fighting.

The trio was also tagged as behind the 2009 kidnappings of three international aid workers Swiss national Andreas Notter, Italian Eugenio Vagni and Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba in Sulu.

Washington said Zulkifli bin Hir, an engineer trained in the United States, is believed to be the head of the Kumpulun Mujahidin Malaysia terrorist organization and a member of Jemaah Islamiya’s central command. His younger brother, Taufik bin Abdul Halim, was involved in the 2001 Atrium Mall bombing in Jakarta, in which he lost his own leg and was subsequently convicted.

He was reported to have fled to the Philippines in August 2003 and since then is believed to have conducted bomb-making training for the Abu Sayyaf. The US offered $5 million for his capture. (Mindanao Examiner)

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