ZAMBOANGA CITY – Filipino Special Forces killed two pro-ISIS militants, including an Abu Sayyaf sub-leader, whose group had kidnapped 21 mostly European and Asian holidaymakers 19 years ago on the resort island of Sipadan off Sabah in Malaysia, security officials announced Wednesday.
Officials said Angah Ajid was slain late Tuesday afternoon during a combat operation against the notorious militant group in Upper Binuang village in Sulu’s Talipao town. The operations lasted only 10 minutes after several gunmen managed to escape the assault.
The military mounted the raid and utilized the 2nd Special Forces Battalion to take down Ajid after civilians allegedly provided vital intelligence that led soldiers to an Abu Sayyaf hideout in the remote village. “Military troops followed the directions provided by residents and encountered five Abu Sayyaf members in the area. A 10-minute gun battle ensued, yielding to the deaths of sub-commander Ajid and another militant,” said Brigadier General Divino Rey Pabayo, Jr., commander of the anti-terror Joint Task Force Sulu.
Pabayo said no soldiers were harmed in the operation and lauded the Special Forces for the slaying of Ajid, who was “the last remaining Abu Sayyaf leader involved in the Sipadan kidnapping in 2000.”
He said soldiers also recovered from the area one M14 rifle and an M16 automatic rifle with grenade launcher, including ammunition. He said the series of armed engagements in the province is the result of the growing support of the civilians to the military’s anti-terror campaign. “The people of Sulu are tired of the atrocities committed by the Abu Sayyaf in their communities,” Pabayo said.
In a separate statement, Lieutenant General Arnel Dela Vega, chief of the Western Mindanao Command, said: “The military continues to launch its offensives to neutralize Abu Sayyaf militants in Sulu. Combat troops relentlessly pursue Abu Sayyaf militants and constrict their movement, leaving them in despair. As community support amassed, military mounts its offensives to pressure and to defeat Abu Sayyaf militants in the area.”
“We are committed to end terrorism and to bring internal security in Mindanao. We also attribute our accomplishments to the Suluanons who are one with us in working for peace in the province,” he added.
The Abu Sayyaf is still holding nearly a dozen hostages, mostly seafarers and fishermen snatched off Sabah, and recently threatened to execute 2 Indonesians and a Malaysian national if their ransom demands running into millions of pesos are not paid. (Mindanao Examiner)
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