8 killed, 8 hurt in separate clashes in south; Chinese kidnap victim found

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ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—At least eight people were killed, eight others were wounded and a missing Chinese national was found in two separate clashes Thursday involving the Abu Sayyaf here and in Basilan, local authorities said.

The foreigner, who was kidnapped in Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay over two months ago, was rescued when government security forces and his Abu Sayyaf captors clashed in Sitio Porlos in the east coast village of Calabasa here around 9:45 a.m. Thursday.

Chief Superintendent Napoleon Estilles, Western Mindanao police chief, said the rescue of Lin Yuan-Kai, 38, and a native of Shenzen, was “coincidental.”

Estilles said members of the police’s Special Action Force were verifying a report about an alleged Abu Sayyaf training camp here when they engaged the bandits, led by Basilan-based Khair Mundos.

Mundos is a key leader and financier of the Abu Sayyaf. The United States government is offering $500,000 for his capture.

“We have some reports about a training camp of the Abu Sayyaf Group in the area,” he said.

Estilles said they started validating the report when they received it because “the place hosted the first camp established by the Abu Sayyaf before it started operating in nearby provinces.”

He said that during the raid, SAF operatives killed suspected Abu Sayyaf members Termije Ajijul and his wife Siiti Raja Salvin; a certain Abu Ulm, an Abu Arab-arab and a Banah-banah.

Another suspected extremist, Sambri Aslon Kamlon, was captured but Mundos, who was among the four Abu Sayyaf injured, managed to escape, Estilles said.

Recovered from the said Abu Sayyaf hideout were five high-powered firearms, 20 backpacks, several training manuals, cellular phones, hammocks, magazines, grenades and other ammunition and police uniforms.

Estilles said that at the height of Thursday’s firefight, “a Chinese-looking guy was seen running away as he was shouting ‘Chinese! Chinese!”

He said that when the policemen got hold of the man, he turned out to be Lin, one of the two Chinese nationals engaged in mineral ore business who were kidnapped in Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay on July 4.

Lin’s companion, Luo Jian, was found roaming in this city on Aug. 26 and has since gone home to Shenzen.

In Basilan, three persons, including two guards of the Tumahubong Agrarian reform Coop. Inc. (Tarbidci) in Sumisip, Basilan were killed while four others were injured when suspected Abu Sayyaf launched fresh attacks against the cooperative, also on Thursday.

Herculano Dalumbar, Tarbidci vice chair, told the Inqurier by phone that killed were Anting Pantasan and Isa Casilan, both cooperative guards. The other casualty was identified only as Amil.

He said four others, whose identities were not immediately available, were wounded and were being treated at the Infante Hospital in Isabela City.

Dalumbar said a group of rubber plantation workers and security guards had just come from a meeting with government and non-government organizations on the planned resumption of the cooperative’s activities and were on their way home on motorcycles at around 5 p.m. when they were fired at upon reaching Barangay Sapah Bulak.

Tarbidci has suspended activities in its rubber plantations in Sumisip starting September 7 following a spate of Abu Sayyaf attacks on its workers. There had been more than half dozen attacks on Tarbidci workers, killing over 10 people, starting this year.

The attacks, officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao claimed, were rooted in land dispute involving Tarbidci and some locals.

Dalumbar said the fresh attack further frightened Tarbidci workers and they now refuse to work for fear of being harmed by the extremists.

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