Gulf Today

Mindanao encounter kills three terrorists

- Manolo B Jara

MANILA: A foreign terrorist and two members of the Daesh-inspired Abu Sayyaf militants were killed in an encounter with government forces in a “barangay” (village) on the island province of Sulu in Mindanao, a top military officer confirmed on Saturday.

Lieutenant General Carlito Vinluan, the chief of the military’s Western Mindanao Command, identified the foreigner as Yusop, a bomb expert, who was killed in a clash with soldiers in Indanan, Sulu late on Friday night.

Vinluan said Yusop was the son of Reda Mohammad Mahmoud alias Siti Aiza, who was also killed when she launched a suicide atack on a military detachment in Indanan in September 2019.

Vinluanals­oidentifie­doneofthes­lainabusay­yaf terrorists as Abu Khata, more popularly known as Saddam, a bombmaker blamed for a series of atacks on military and civilian installati­ons in Sulu and neighbouri­ng areas.

Based on initial reports, Vinluan said a team of soldiers were on security patrol when they encountere­d the terrorists in a 10-minute heavy exchange of gunfire in a village in Indanan late on Friday night.

The terrorists later fled and let behind the bodies of their three slain comrades as well as high-powered firearms and ammunition which were recovered by the soldiers, according to Vinluan.

He added that since January the military’s Task Force Sulu has “neutralise­d” a total of 70 Abu Sayyaf terrorists who have pledged allegiance to the Daesh extremists.

Of the total, he said that 60 had surrendere­d , seven were arrested and three slain.

The Abu Sayyaf, meaning “bearer of the sword,” has gained notoriety through a spate of kidnapfor-ransom cases that were oten marred by the beheading of their foreign and Filipino hostages.

Regional and Philippine security experts have earlier confirmed the link of the Abu Sayyaf to the global Al Qaeda terrorist network through the Indonesia-based Jemaah Islamiyah extremists.

The military also blamed the Abu Sayyaf and the Maute Group which likewise pledged allegiance to the Daesh extremists for the siege of Marawi, the capital city of Lanao del Sur inn May 2017 that prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law over the whole of troubled Mindanao.

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