ZAMBOANGA CITY: An alleged Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) leader linked to terror attacks and ransom kidnappings in southern Philippines was killed along with two other bandits in a clash with police forces in Sabah, Malaysia.
Nurhassan Jamiri, who is on top of the Philippines’ most wanted terrorist list, was slain at a plantation in Tawau on Tuesday.
His companions remain unidentified, according to the Eastern Sabah Security Command.
Jamiri, a native of Basilan, was also implicated in dozens of ransom kidnappings, including Australian international adventurer Warren Rodwell in 2011 in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.
Datuk Hazani Ghazali, chief of the Eastern Sabah Security Command, said the bandits opened fire at pursuing policemen inside the plantation, about a kilometer from the main Kalabakan-Keningau Road, in a four-minute firefight.
A report on Thursday by a Malaysian newspaper, The Star, quoting regional intelligences sources, said Jamiri was armed with a high-powered rifle when gunned down by the police.
Hazani said Jamiri’s group is suspected to be linked to a cross-border terrorist network that might be planning an attack on Sabah.
He added that they could also be linked to 10 people arrested recently by the Bukit Aman anti-terrorism unit for planning to carry out attacks in the eastern state.
Hazani said Tawau district police chief, Assistant Commander Fadil Marcus, noted that the trio seemed to operate in a tactical manner before they were shot dead.
Meanwhile, Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said Philippine authorities were still verifying whether the slain gunman was Jamiri.
“We shall know the truth. I wish this report is true,” he added on Thursday.