7 killed as troops, Abu Sayyaf clash in Sulu

Richard Falcatan, Merlyn Manos

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7 killed as troops, Abu Sayyaf clash in Sulu

ABU SAYYAF WEAPONS. Authorities show Abu Sayyaf firearms found in an encounter site in Sulu on Saturday, February 4.


The Abu Sayyaf group is blamed for the killing of Sulu's police director in an ambush in 2009

BASILAN, Philippines – Authorities killed seven suspected members of the dreaded Abu Sayyaf during a fierce encounter in the village of Kapuk Pungol, Parang, Sulu, at around 11 pm on Saturday, February 4.

Major Dominador Mauricio, the commander of the 7th Action Battalion of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF), said the suspects belonged to the same group allegedly behind the May 7, 2009 ambush that killed Sulu police provincial director Senior Superintendent Julasirim Kasim in Bato Ugis, Maimbung town.

Three people, including the PNP-SAF’s Captain Nolie Agmaliw, were wounded during the exchange of firepower. Two others wounded were relatives of suspects.

Mauricio said the suspects had been closely associated with killed Abu Sayyaf leader Majan Sahijuan alias Apo Mike who had led an armed group in Patikul, Indanan, Maimbung, and Parang in Sulu.

It was a PNP-led joint operation that included members of the Sulu Provincial Police Office and the Army to catch three of the province’s most wanted men – Juko Dahim, Ammas Hatib Ajon, and Rogir Mukattir, all with arrest warrants issued by Judge Bensaudi Arabani Sr. of the 4th branch of the Regional Trial Court in Sulu.

Dahim and Mukattir had been sought after for a robbery case, and Ajon was wanted for murder.

Brigadier General John Guyguyon, police director in the Bangsamoro region, said the group of the three fugitives was also linked to several high-profile crimes in Sulu such as kidnappings and drug trafficking, including the 2009 killing of Kasim. 

It was not the first time that the group engaged government forces in a firefight, according to Guyguyon.

He said the exchange of firepower took place while troops approached the suspects’ location, and they were met with resistance. 

Police said the exchange lasted for about 30 minutes and resulted in the killing of seven suspects, including the wanted men.

Mauricio said troops found a cache of firearms, ammunition, and other items at the scene of the encounter, all of which were taken to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Sulu.

Meanwhile, suspected members of the extremist group Dawlah Islamiyah killed a soldier and wounded three others in an ambush in the village of Cabasaran, Morogong town in Lanao del Sur, on Saturday afternoon.

The Morogong police identified the killed soldier as Marine Sergeant Tonti Melbert Pamaran, and the wounded as Sergeant Jeram Aradji, Corporal Mark Anthony Banares, and a certain Sergeant Aninon.

Police said the wounded Marines were rushed to a hospital where they were being taken care of as of posting time.

Lieutenant Colonel Sergio Reyes Ronquillo, the commander of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 2, said the soldiers were not in uniform and were only carrying caliber .45 pistols which they used to hold the line until reinforcement arrived.

Authorities said the attackers used weapons such as 5.56mm rifles in the ambush. –

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