Terrorist leader, wife slain in Maguindanao raid
CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao — The military scored a major victory against local affiliates of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist network with the killing of the leader of Daulah Islamiyah (DI) in Maguindanao on Friday.
According to Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6ID), Salahuddin Hassan and his wife, Jehana Minbida, were killed in the course of an early morning raid on a house in Sitio Pinareng, Barangay Damablac, Talayan town, Maguindanao.
The raid was a joint operation by police and soldiers.
“He (Hassan) resisted arrest and traded shots with lawmen, triggering a brief firefight,” Uy told reporters in a news briefing on Friday.
Minbida succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds.
Uy described Hassan, who also goes by the names Orak, Salah, Tulea, and Abu Salman as “emir of Daulah Islamiyah-Philippines.”
DI was suspected to be behind the bombing of the Roxas night market in President Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown of Davao City on Sept. 2, 2016.
Uy said Hassan’s wife served as finance officer of the group, adding that DI operates in Mindanao’s southern and central regions and maintains several strongholds in Maguindanao province together with another group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
Hassan and Minbida have been the subject of an intense manhunt for the past several months.
Col. Pedro Balisi Jr., commander of the Army’s 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade, said intelligence operatives and local informants first reported about a group of armed men coming into Damablac. Balisi said it was later verified that Hassan was among them.
Several firearms, including a 5.56mm R4 rifle, and ammunition were recovered from the house where Hassan was holed up.
According to the 6ID, the slain couple’s relatives have claimed their bodies and buried them in accordance with Muslim rites.
String of crimes
Hassan was suspected to have organized the crime group Al-Khobar, which was blamed for extortion activities in central Mindanao from 2007 to 2015, as well as terrorist activities such as the bombing or burning of passenger buses whose operators refused to pay protection money.
One such incident was the 2014 bombing of a bus operated by Rural Transit Mindanao in Maramag, Bukidnon. Eleven were killed and 15 were wounded in that incident.
Authorities said recent attacks on bus companies had the imprint of Hassan. These include the bombing of a Yellow Bus Line (YBL) vehicle in Tulunan, Cotabato, on Jan. 27, and the burning of another YBL bus in M’lang, Cotabato, on June 3.
After Al-Khobar, Hassan became drawn to Islamic extremism, joining the ranks of bombmakers trained by the late Abdul Basit Usman of the BIFF and Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan.
AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Jose Faustino Jr. said in a statement: “This latest accomplishment is a significant blow against the [DI] and another victory in our thrust against terrorism. With their leader now dead, the terrorist group will certainly crumble.”—WITH A REPORT FROM Dexter Cabalza
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