AFP still verifying reports of suspected bomber Usman’s death
MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines is still verifying reports that suspected bomber Abdul Basit Usman was killed in an encounter with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on Sunday in Maguindanao.
A spokesperson for the Armed Forces of the Philippines said an MILF unit engaged Usman in a firefight in Guindolungan, Maguindanao, at around 11:30 a.m. Sunday.
Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala said that as of Sunday evening, they were still verifying information that Usman and two others were killed in the clash with the MILF, led by a “Commander Barok.”
Kakilala said the 6th Infantry Division has been put in charge of validating the information.
“We are still waiting for the confirmation, we don’t know yet what kind of firefight transpired,” the military official said on Sunday.
From the Philippine National Police, Dir. Benjamin Magalong of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group said the deaths of Usman and the other members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters were confirmed by Datu Toks Upam of MILF’s Committee for the Cessation of Hostilities, and Datu Gayat-Midtimbang of Barangay (village) Mote in Guindulungan.
“The Maguindanao provincial police office is currently investigating the incident,” Magalong said.
The MILF group that encountered Usman’s group is reportedly under the MILF’s 109th Base Command led by Wahid Tundok.
The site of the encounter was in Barangay Mote near Camp Afdal, Kakilala said, citing initial reports.
The bodies of the three slain men were reportedly with the MILF, which neutralized Usman, a known protege of Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli Bin Hir, alias, Marwan, who was killed in the PNP Special Action Force operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
Marwan and Usman were the targets of the ill-fated January 25 operation of the Special Action Force in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, which left 44 troopers dead.
Kakilala said the MILF helped the government in neutralizing Usman, who has been long wanted by authorities.
“It was an MILF operation, there was no military involved,” the AFP spokesperson said.
The military is checking if Usman was with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, which is accused of coddling terrorists like him, during the encounter.
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