ZAMBOANGA CITY—At least eight people were killed while an equal number was injured in two separate incidents involving the Abu Sayyaf here and in Basilan on Thursday, authorities said.
But a Chinese national, who was kidnapped in Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay, was rescued when government security forces and his Abu Sayyaf captors clashed in Sitio Porlos in Barangay Calabasa here at 9:45 a.m. on Thursday.
Chief Supt. 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 (SAF) were verifying a report about an alleged Abu Sayyaf training camp here when they engaged 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. They started validating the report because “the place hosted the first camp established by the Abu Sayyaf before it started operating in nearby provinces,” Estilles said.
He said during the operation, SAF members 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 bandit, 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, training manuals, cellular phones, hammocks, magazines, grenades and other ammunition and police uniforms.
Estilles said at the height of Thursday’s clash, “a Chinese-looking guy was seen running away while shouting ‘Chinese! Chinese!’”
When the police got hold of the guy, Estilles said he turned out to be Lin, one of the two Chinese nationals engaged in mineral ore business, who was 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 bandits launched fresh attacks against the cooperative, also on Thursday.
Herculano Dalumbar, Tarbidci vice chair, told the Inquirer by phone that those 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 provided, were wounded and were being treated at the Infante Hospital in Isabela City.
Dalumbar said a group of rubber plantation workers and security guards were on their way home aboard motorcycles around 5 p.m. after attending a meeting with government and nongovernment organizations on the planned resumption of the cooperative’s activities when fired upon as they were reaching Barangay Sapah Bulak.
Tarbidci has suspended activities in its rubber plantations in Sumisip starting Sept. 7 following a spate of Abu Sayyaf attacks on its workers. More than half a dozen attacks on Tarbidci workers killed 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 sent more fears to Tarbidci workers and people now refuse to work for fear of being harmed by the bandits. Julie Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao