Abu Sayyaf subleader killed in Sulu clash

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ZAMBOANGA CITY — An Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) subleader was killed in a clash with Philippine Marine troops as the focused military operations continue against the ASG bandits in Sulu, officials said Wednesday.

Col. Gerry Besana, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) information officer, identified the slain ASG subleader as Hapidz Abdurahman, who is based in the island town of Pata, Sulu.

Besana said Abdurahman was killed in a 10-minute firefight Tuesday in Barangay Tambulian, Pata municipality.

He said the troops from the Marine Battalion Landing Team-3 (MBLT-3) were on a focused military operation when they clashed with the group of Abduhraman, whose remains were recovered by the troops.

Abdurahman’s remains were buried according to Muslim rites. He had a standing warrant of arrest for murder and illegal possession of firearms.

Lt. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, Westmincom chief, said the ASG bandits suffered another setback with the death of Abdurahman.

“We are building up our focused and intelligence operations to pursue, pressure, and defeat Abu Sayyaf militants in Sulu,” Dela Vega said.

“While we are gaining a foothold with our persistent offensives, the military will continuously exert all efforts to reach out and work with the Suluanons to pave the way for peace and development in the province,” he added. (PNA)