Abu Sayyaf leader killed resisting arrest
MANILA, Philippines–An Abu Sayyaf subleader was killed Saturday afternoon after he shot it out with law enforcers serving an arrest warrant on him in Sulu.
Sihata Muallom Asmad resisted arrest and fired at a joint police-military arresting team in Barangay Duyan Kaha, Parang town, authorities said.
The team composed of police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and military Task Force Zambasulta members were out to pick up Asmad, who also went by the aliases Sihata Latip, Ka Tatang and Tatang.
Citing initial reports, CIDG spokesperson Chief Insp. Elizabeth Jasmin said the incident happened at 4:45 p.m. Saturday in Sitio (settlement) Patong-patong, Barangay (village) Duyan Kaha.
Asmad was a Sulu-based subleader of the Abu Sayyaf terror group and was tagged in the abduction of several foreigners, including Taiwanese and German nationals.
There was a P5.3-million bounty on his head due to his notoriety, Jasmin said.
On Saturday, the arresting team was about to serve arrest warrants on Asmad for kidnapping and serious illegal detention cases dating back to 2001 and 2002.
The law enforcers said Asmad resisted arrest and shot at them.
Col. Allan Arrojado, Joint Task Group Sulu commander, said a soldier was also killed while another was wounded during a brief fire fight. He did not identify the soldier.
Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. commended the government troops for neutralizing Asmad.
Asmad was charged with taking part in the 2001 kidnapping of 10 workers of the Golden Harvest Plantation in Lantawan, Basilan, and the 2002 kidnapping of six members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Patikul, Sulu.
Saturday’s incident occurred after the military clashed with three merged Abu Sayyaf groups in Talipao, Sulu, more than a week ago, during which five soldiers were killed while 10 Abu Sayyaf members died.–Julie M. Aurelio
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