Civilians and Bangladeshi reported killed in Sulu air strikes
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—The head of Bantay Ceasefire in Sulu said Friday that some civilians and a Bangladeshi national identified only as Mastal were among those killed by military air strikes in the municipality of Parang in Sulu.
Professor Octavio Dinampo, who also works at the Mindanao State University there, said the information was relayed to him by an in-law of Abu Sayyaf leader Gumbahali Jumdail alias Doc Abu.
He said based on the information relayed to him, Doc Abu was inside a makeshift clinic and seeing a wounded person in the village of Lanao Dakulah when the Air Force dropped four bombs on early Thursday.
“Doc Abu was attending to a wounded patient in a makeshift clinic in Lanao Dakulah when four bombs were dropped, killing him and one Bangladesh national identified as Mastal and some civilians residing in that area,” Dinampo said.
It was not clear what the Bangladeshi was doing in Parang or who the civilians were.
Armed Forces Chief of Staff Jessie Dellosa had denied that civilians were killed in the air strikes.
He also said that contrary to Dinampo’s information, the air strikes took place in Duyan Kabaw and all the fatalities were Jemaah Islamiyah terrorists and Abu Sayyaf members.
In an earlier report, the military said several JI members, including Zulkipli bin Abdul Hir alias Marwan, Ibrahim or Muhamda Ali alias Mauwiyah and an Anjala, were killed in the bomb runs along with Jumdail and 11 others.
A list provided by a police intelligence source, however, did not have Marwan, Mauwiyah or Anjala’s names on it.
The list only included Jumdail, JI operatives Muin Khalid, an alias Saad, an alias Hajan, and several other Abu Sayyaf gunmen.
“So far we don’t have information on the identity of the others killed in the air strike but we are definite that no civilians were harmed,” said Major General Noel Coballes, Western Mindanao Command chief.
Coballes said the operation was the product of months of planning under Oplan Nemesis.
He said Oplan Nemesis was aimed at tracking down and eliminating high-value JI or Abu Sayyaf targets. No foot soldier was to be used under the plan.
“This had been planned a long time ago and was carried out when the information led us to a positive location of the group,” Coballes said.
Dellosa said the Air Force did a precise work by using two OV-10 planes during the bomb runs.
“Our pilots are very skillful,” he said.
With the deaths of Jumdail and the other JI leaders, Dellosa said, the military has greatly reduced the capability of the Abu Sayyaf.
“Their leaders are considered the center of gravity,” he said.
Jumdail, based on the military’s description, was one of the most active Abu Sayyaf leaders.
He was involved in the 2000 Sipadan hostage incident and the abduction of three workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Sulu in 2009.
Dinampo said Jumdail, whose real name was Abuhun Jumdail, was a former Moro National Liberation Front fighter under Commander Julaide.
He said Jumdail bolted from the MNLF in the early 1990s and eventually joined the Abu Sayyaf.