ZAMBOANGA CITY: Government troops killed a Malaysian militant in a clash with Abu Sayyaf rebels in the troubled province of Basilan in the Muslim autonomous region in southern Philippines, a military report said.
This was the second time that security forces killed a Malaysian militant in the province.
In December last year, military forces also killed a Malaysian bomb expert, Mohammad Hussein, during clashes with the Abu Sayyaf – also in Macalang village.
The military report said hundreds of army troops and pro-government militiamen launched the weekend assault against the Abu Sayyaf in the village of Macalang in Al-Barka town, a known stronghold of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which signed an interim peace deal with Manila in 2014.
A small team of MILF members led by Pulon Kulalul also joined the army in fighting the Abu Sayyaf. Two militiamen – Allahero Ujajin and Sarip Alista – were injured in the clash after they tripped on an Abu Sayyaf landmine in the village.
Troops also recovered the body of the slain Malaysian militant, but his name was not immediately made available by the military, except that he was a Malaysian fighting alongside the Abu Sayyaf.
At least six improvised explosives were also recovered from the encampment of the Abu Sayyaf in Sitio Bohe Buug.
On March 25, government troops also killed an Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Eric Ajibun and one of his followers in fierce clashes that left five soldiers and two militiamen wounded in Al-Barka town.
Troops launched an operation dubbed “Oplan Urgent Fury 2” against the Abu Sayyaf following deadly clashes between the MILF and the jihadist group on March 23 that killed Haipa Isnilon, son of a key Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon.
MILF forces ambushed Haipa’s group, which was reported to be trying to set up a camp in the area that the villagers and the former rebel group strongly opposed. AL JACINTO