MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is preparing for possible acts of reprisal from the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) following the death of one of its key members in a recent encounter with government troops in Sulu.
According to AFP Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) Spokesperson Maj. Arvin John Encinas, they are not discounting the possibility of retaliatory attacks by the ASG after the younger brother of an ASG leader was killed in a gun battle in Patikul, Sulu last Tuesday (Sept. 10).
Philippine Army’s 41st Infantry Battalion faced around 40 ASG members in a heavy firefight that broke out in Sitio Tubig Pansol in Barangay Langhub.
ASG fighters were said to have retreated after about 20 minutes of gunfight.
Government troops then overran the ASG camp and found a body, which military identified as Nanz Sawadjaan, brother of ASG sub-leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan.
Nanz Sawadjaan was one of ASG’s bomb experts who was allegedly involved in Jolo cathedral blast and other recent suicide bomb attacks in Sulu.
Encinas said the death of Sawadjaan is a great loss to the terrorist group.
“Yung pagka-neutralize natin dito sa kapatid ni sub-leader Sawadjaan ay isang malaking dagok sa hanay ng mga Abu Sayyaf Group considering na itong si Nanz Sawadjaan ay trained sa paggawa IED (improvised explosive device),” he said.
(The neutralization of the brother of sub-leader Sawadjaan is a great loss to the Abu Sayyaf group considering that this Nanz Sawadjaan was trained in making IEDs.)
The military said that before the demise of Sawadjaan, they received information about the ASG’s plans to launch a series of suicide bombings in Sulu, including in military detachments.
Last Sept. 8 a female suicide bomber was killed in Indanan town after she tried to attack a military checkpoint by blowing herself up. No one was injured in the blast because soldiers were able to take cover following shouts of alarm from other detachment members.
The AFP assured the readiness of their troops and urged the public to immediately report any suspicious individuals or things spotted in their areas. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)
The brother of an Abu Sayyaf leader was killed during an encounter with the military forces in Sulu on Tuesday (September 10).
The soldiers identified the neutralized terrorist as Nanz Sawadjaan, the younger brother of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) sub-leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan.
The 41st Infantry Battalion conducted a focused military operation in Sitio Tubig Pansol, Barangay Langhub, Patikul, Sulu.
They encountered 40 ASG members under Almujer Yadah, Ben Tattoh, and Apo Mike. The heavy firefight lasted for 20 minutes until the military was able to overrun the enemy encampment.
Two soldiers were injured during the encounter.
According to Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, the troops are still conducting pursuit operations.
“Our troops remain persistent in tracking down and neutralizing the remaining terrorists in Sulu,” he said.
“The successful operations of our troops are also attributed to the local community who feeds information, directing our troops to the terrorists’ location,” he added.—AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)
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