Troops kill mil­i­tant blamed for be­head­ings

Abu Sayyaf com­man­der was said to have killed two Cana­dian hostages in 2016

Toronto Star - - NEWS - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

MANILA, PHILIP­PINES— Filipino troops bat­tling mil­i­tants in a cen­tral prov­ince have killed a key Abu Sayyaf com­man­der who had been blamed for the be­head­ings of two Cana­dian hostages in 2016.

The Philip­pines mil­i­tary chief of staff, Gen. Ed­uardo Ano, told The As­so­ci­ated Press that troops have re­cov­ered and iden­ti­fied the re­mains of Moam­mar Askali, who used the nom de guerre Abu Rami, in the scene of the bat­tle in a far-flung coastal vil­lage on Bo­hol is­land.

Five other Abu Sayyaf gun­men were killed in the fight­ing on Tues­day, along with four sol­diers and po­lice­men.

Askali was blamed for the kid­nap­pings of John Rids­del and Robert Hall in Septem­ber 2015. The Cana­di­ans had been taken from a ma­rina by Abu Sayyaf gun­men along with a Nor­we­gian man, Kjar­tan Sekkingstad, and Hall’s Filipino girl­friend, Marites Flor.

The mil­i­tant group de­manded a ran­som, which Canada re­fused to pay, and both Cana­dian men were be­headed last year.

Abu Sayyaf mil­i­tants con­tinue to hold at least 29 cap­tives in Sulu’s jun­gles.

Ano said the death of Askali is a “ma­jor blow to the Abu Sayyaf” and the group will “have to think twice” if it plans to kid­nap in­no­cent peo­ple.

Philip­pine mil­i­tary chief said troops killed mil­i­tant Moam­mar Askali.

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