5 suspected Abu Sayyaf men killed by soldiers in Basilan clash
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Five suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf were killed as the military launched combat operations in Sumisip, Basilan, a military spokesperson said on Monday.
Capt. Ma. Rowena Muyuela said the firefight broke out Sunday between soldiers and a band of Abu Sayyaf bandits in Barangay (village) Baiwas.
“Five bandits were killed under the group of Kumander Katatong,” she said.
Muyuela said following the clash, the soldiers conducted clearing operations and stumbled on an Abu Sayyaf camp in Baiwas.
“Our troops were able to recover their camp,” she added.
Muyuela said at least 10 nipa huts with fortified trenches and foxholes had been found in the area.
The operating soldiers were also able to recover a homemade shotgun with two shells; a 40-millimeter round; a solar charger; a wet cell battery; and various documents.
Col. Rolando Joselito Bautista, commander of the Army’s 104th Brigade, said the huts could accommodate more or less 50 persons.
As this developed, the Zamboanga City Police Office announced on Monday that it had filed charges against an alleged Abu Sayyaf member, who was tagged as the main suspect in the bombing of a massage parlor here early this month.
Supt. Ariel Huesca, city police spokesperson, said Muammar Askalani, also known as “Abu Ramy,” was positively identified by at least four witnesses based on a gallery of photos the police had presented.
“He was identified as the person who purchased the rice container, where the device was placed. He was also identified as the person, who ordered softdrinks from the bar attendant and later left the rice container inside the establishment,” Huesca said.
Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, chief of the Western Mindanao Command, said authorities were still on a heightened alert, as of Monday, against possible diversionary tactics by the Abu Sayyaf in the light of the Sulu and Basilan operations.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.