SULU, Philippines – The liaison of the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) to the Abu Sayyaf Group was killed in an encounter with government troops in Patikul town, the military confirmed on Saturday, November 23.
Joint Task Force Sulu (JTFS) confirmed in a statement on Saturday the death Talha Jumsah or “Abu Talha” during a civilian-tipped armed confrontation with the 1st Scout Ranger Battalion in Sitio Tubig Amu, Barangay Tanum inPatikul town at 7:15 am on Friday, November 22.
JTFS said Abu Talha's body was recovered about 800 meters away from the encounter site during the follow-up operations conducted of the 1101st Infantry Brigade on Saturday morning.
"Abu Talha is a high-value target of the AFP in Sulu. Accordingly, he is an ISIS-trained IED expert who served as an instructor to the ASG in the fabrication of a more lethal and destructive IEDs that caused tremendous casualties during the suicide bombings in Sulu," the task force said.
"He also served as the finance conduit and liaison between foreign and local terrorist communication lines," it added.
Brigadier General Antonio Nafarrete, 1101st Brigade Commander cited the help of the local community in neutralizing Abu Talha.
“The death of Abu Talha will surely cause demoralization in the ASG ranks in Sulu. It could not have been made possible without the support of the Tausug community who reported the presence of the armed terrorists and volunteered to serve as guides during the conduct of combat operations," Nafarrete said,
Major General Corleto Vinluan Jr, JTF Sulu Commander, lauded the operating units that carried out the operations against Abu Talha.
On November 5, 3 alleged suicide bombers – two of them Egyptian – from the Abu Sayyaf were killed in a clash with Philippine Army troops in Sitio Itawon, Barangay Kan Islam, Indanan, Sulu.
Sulu has seen a series of suicide bombings since January this year, when an Indonesian couple blew themselves up during mass in a cathedral in Jolo town, killing 23 people. – With a report from Richard Falcatan/Rappler.com