ZAMBOANGA CITY: Government troopers killed an alleged leader and one of the members of the extremist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), while three government troopers were wounded in a 30-minute firefight in Tuburan, Basilan early on Sunday morning.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Joint Task Group in Basilan spokesperson First Lt. Sally Magno said Abdulhasan Yusop Sanajalun alias “Bullet,” an ASG leader and one Halid Calbie were killed when security forces engaged his group at around 4 am on Sunday.
Magno said joint AFP and Philippine National Police (PNP) forces were about to serve the warrant of arrest against Sanajalun for the cases of kidnapping with ransom and serious illegal detention when they were fired upon in Campo Dos, Colonia, Lamitan City, Basilan province.
The firefight lasted for about 30 minutes leaving three soldiers wounded, while other members of the group fled.
Government troops recovered an M-653 caliber 5.56 rifle, a .45 caliber pistol, improvised explosive devices (IED), several hand grenades, an air gun, magazines with live ammunitions, mobile phones, documents and other personal belongings.
The military said the encounter also foiled an attempt by the ASG to conduct bombings in Lamitan City.
“Bullet is a well-known UTG [urban terrorist group]leader, locally called Anak Yatim [Orphans of ASG Martyrs] involved in the series of killings of AFP-PNP personnel, retailers and foreign nationals. His group is also engaged in extortion with intimidation of IED bombing and the kidnapping of three employees of a construction firm in Barangay Cadayan, Akbar Municipality sometime in January of this year,” said Magno.
Basilan is a known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf fighting for the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in the South. The military said the rebel group has recently pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.