SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: A suspected member of a terrorist group allied with the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) was killed during a police operation in Kiamba, Sarangani, police said.
Supt. Romeo Galgo Jr, spokesman of Police Regional Office-12 (PRO-12) said Jukarno Espadilla was killed when he tried to throw a hand grenade at policemen serving search warrants in his home in Barangay Badtasan, Kiamba at 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
The operatives recovered from Espadilla his mobile phone that contained text messages to a certain Ali, purportedly an ASG member killed in Bohol last month, and to Mohammad Jaafar Maguid, alias Commander Tokboy.
Maguid was the founding head of Ansar al-Khilafah Philippines, a Sarangani-based terror group allied with the Abu Sayyaf and Islamic State.
Joselito Melloria, alias Ali, a Boholano member of the ASG, was killed during military operations in Inabanga, Bohol two weeks ago.
Melloria served as guide of ASG members who went to Bohol on a kidnapping mission during the Holy Week.
Galgo said joint police units were to serve warrants against Espadilla and Basir Sahak.
However, Sahak escaped, leaving Espadilla alone who “resisted by trying to throw a hand grenade toward police personnel,” Galgo added.
Government forces brought Kiamba to a district hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival by attending physicians.
Galgo said the operatives recovered a hand grenade, six sachets of shabu, ammonium nitrate contained in a plastic sealed container, seven mobile phones, a bullet for a 12-gauge shotgun and an unregistered motorcycle.