Duterte admin maintains ‘no ransom policy’ on Abu Sayyaf hostages

Robie de Guzman   •   February 22, 2019   •   2000

File photo: Members of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — Malacañang on Friday maintained the government’s policy of not paying ransom for the release of several hostages taken by the terrorist Abu Sayyaf group.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo issued the statement after the ASG threatened to behead a Malaysian and two Indonesian nationals held captive in Mindanao if ransoms are not paid.

“We are doing our best to secure the release of hostages (one Malaysian and two Indonesians) from the evil hands of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) but we stand firm on our no-ransom policy,” Panelo said.

Panelo explained that giving in to the demands of terrorists and other lawless groups “would embolden them to engage in more abductions,” and that it would allow them to “conduct extremist and other criminal activities as they could buy more arms and weapons.”

“The ASG continues to be on the run as a result of the order of the President to the military to crush them,” he added.

“Our security forces are hunting them in the wild forests of Mindanao to unleash their might and blow them to kingdom come,” Panelo concluded. — Robie de Guzman (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

4 suspected Abu Sayyaf members killed in Parañaque raid

Robie de Guzman   •   June 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Four suspected members of terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) were killed in a raid launched by government security forces in Don Bosco, Parañaque City past Friday midnight.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) identified the suspects as Bensaudi Sali alias “Boy,” his wife Merhama Abdul Sawari alias “Mheng,” Rasin Hussin alias “Boscon,” and Jamal Kalliming alias “Pando.”

According to National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) regional director Major General Debold Sinas, the four suspects died during the raid jointly conducted by elements from the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Sinas said the team tried to serve a search warrant at the house of the suspects in Better Living Subdivision at 12:26 a.m. when the suspects engaged law enforcers in a firefight.

The security forces retaliated which eventually led to the killing of the suspects.

The police and military said the operation stemmed from the information they received about the presence of members of Daulah Islamiyah, who were tagged as a financial conduit of Daesh-East Asia, in Parañaque City.

Daulah Islamiyah is a faction of the ASG that is affiliated with the Islamic State.

The search warrant against the suspects was issued by Judge Noemi Balitaan of the Parañaque City Regional Trial Court Branch 258 for violation of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.

According to reports from the AFP and the PNP, the suspects’ profiles are as follows:

  • Sali was tagged as a member of ASG/Daulah Islamiyah in Sulu. He was a native of Jolo and had been working as a security guard in a residential condominium in Parañaque.
  • His wife, Sawari was tagged as ASG/Daulah Islamiyah-Sulu group’s finance and logislitics facilitator. She was said to be the recipient of money remittance from Indonesian ISEA facilitator Yoga Fabrianto who was arrested in Sabah on June 2019.
  • Hussin and Kalliming, who were also both working as security guards like Sali, were alleged cohorts of the two ASG members.

The military said that after the operation, authorities recovered from the site three blasting caps, different kinds of wire, two bottles of white and brownish granules (suspected explosives), two revolvers and two pistols with live ammunition, two black ISIS flags, two hand grenades, one M16 rifle, and one electric match.

The PNP said the encounter also resulted in the wounding of Police Corporal Ehrol Gamboa, who is now receiving treatment for the gunshot wounds he sustained on both legs.

PNP chief Police General Archie Gamboa said crime scene investigators are thoroughly sifting through the recovered evidence while a complete investigation has been ordered into the circumstances surrounding the presence of the alleged Abu Sayyaf members in Metro Manila. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

Soldier killed, 9 others hurt in clash with Abu Sayyaf group in Sulu

Robie de Guzman   •   June 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A soldier was killed while several others were injured in a “fierce firefight” between military troops and Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members in Patikul, Sulu on Monday, June 22, the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command (AFP Westmincom) said.

In a statement, the AFP said that around noon on Monday, soldiers of 32nd Infantry Battalion encountered an undetermined number of members of the terror group in Sitio Tubig Bukayon in Barangay Pansul.

The firefight killed one military officer and wounded nine others while the number of casualties among the ASG members is still undetermined.

“It is with deep sadness to report that one valiant military officer paid the ultimate sacrifice and nine personnel were wounded while fearlessly fighting the enemies and protecting the people of Sulu,” Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, WestMinCom Commander said.

Sobejana added that the family of the fallen soldier will be notified and provided with “all forms of assistance.”

The AFP said its Joint Task Force (JTF) Sulu is currently going after the ASG members.

“Our troops are still pursuing the withdrawing enemies who left several blood stains on their tracks,” Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, JTF Commander, said in the same statement.

The military vowed to continue its intensified offensive operations against the local terrorist group.

“The skirmishers between our forces and the ASG persist. As we actively support the civil government in preventing the spread of COVID-19, we also ensure that the people in the community are safe and secured from the terrorism,” Sobejana said.

PNP mourns over AFP’s loss in Sulu encounter

Maris Federez   •   April 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines The Philippine National Police (PNP) expressed grief over the loss of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in an encounter between the military and elements of the Abu Sayyaf Group on Friday (April 17).

“The Officers, men and women of the Philippine National Police, under the command of PGen. Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, join the Filipino nation in mourning over the loss of 11 of our brothers in arms in the Armed Forces of the Philippines who offered the ultimate sacrifice in an encounter with terrorists in Sulu yesterday,” says a statement it released on Saturday through its spokesperson, PBGen. Bernard M Banac.

The country’s police force believes that the soldiers “did not die in vain -the cause they are fighting for is the lifelong commitment of all men and women in uniform who derive inspiration from the heroism of our fallen brothers to bring on the fight against the enemies of the state,” Banac said.

The official added that the PNP is extending every possible support and assistance that it can give to comfort the families of the fallen soldiers and to provide care for the wounded.

“Even as the entire government is preoccupied with response operations to address the health crisis, state security forces will continue to perform the duty to keep the country safe from terrorism and lawlessness,” Banac concluded. mbmf

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