MANILA, Philippines – A grandson of Abu Sayyaf Group leader Radullan Sahiron was killed in a military operation in Talipao, Sulu on Saturday, April 18.
Identified as “Vikram”, Sahiron’s grandson was a maker of improvised explosive devices (IED), military officials said.
Sahiron is among the most wanted terrorists listed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States.
Vikram had been involved in the Jolo Cathedral suicide bombing in January 2019 and the terror group’s recent clash with the military in Patikul that left 11 soldiers dead, Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana, Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, told reporters on Sunday, April 19.
Sobejana said that Vikram’s body had been recovered. Vikram’s companion has yet to be identified but he was also injured during the pursuit operation, Sobejana added.
In a separate statement, Major General Corleto Vinluan, Joint Task Force Sulu commander, said that JTF Sulu troops were able to intercept the two ASG members who were on board a motorcycle in Barangay Bilaan in Talipao at 9:45pm on Saturday.
The ASG members fired at the soldiers, forcing them to retaliate and pursue the two, Vinluan said. No soldier was hurt in the encounter.
The troops recovered the body of the Vikram in Barangay Lambana, apparently left behind by his companion.
Vikram’s remains were brought to Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital.
Sobejana credited the success of the pursuit operation to the “direct involvement of the communities,” which he said had put pressure on the Abus and constrict their movements as well.”
“May you continue to feed us with reliable information as we beef up our operations to run down terror groups and end discord and instability in our area of operation,” Sobejana said.
The encounter between the ASG and the 21st Infantry Battalion in the jungles of Patikul on Friday, April 17 was described by Army spokesperson, Colonel Ramon Zagala, as “the most devastating encounter for the military in a long while.”
Sobejana said that he was in Patikul on Saturday to “reassess” the military’s concept of operations and re-strategize “based on the current doctrines” being followed by the Abu Sayyaf. (READ: Q&A: Is General Sobejana the one to end the Abu Sayyaf?)
“They are also evolving,” Sobejana said. – Rappler.com