ZAMBOANGA CITY: Security forces have killed a key member of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) involved in kidnappings in Malaysia and captured another in separate raids Friday inTawi-Tawi, officials said.
This came the same day the military said they erred in announcing the recovery of a headless body believed to be that of Malaysian hostage Bernard Then Te Fen and claimed that troops were still searching for his cadaver.
The 39-year old Malaysian man from Sarawak in Sabah was beheaded by the extremist group in Indanan, Sulu on November 17 after his family failed to pay the ransom. His bloodied head was recovered the same night abandoned in the town of Jolo.
Reports said soldiers and policemen stormed an ASG hideout in Tawi-Tawi’s Sitangkai town and killed a certain Said, whose group was tagged as behind several cross-border raids in Sabah and other kidnappings in the province that included Filipino executive Precillano Garcia.
Said, who was under Alhabsi Misaya and Idang Susukan, was fatally wounded during a clash. Both Misaya and Susukan were linked to the beheading of Malaysian hostage Bernard Then in the town of Indanan after his family failed to pay ransom.
Captain Roy Trinidad, a military spokesman, has confirmed Said’s killing.
He said another Abu Sayyaf leader, Mhadie Umangkat, was also captured in a joint police and military operation in Tugbungan, Zamboanga City.
Umangkat is a leader of an Abu Sayyaf unit implicated in the spate of attacks on government forces in Basilan.
“Umangkat is a leader of Abu Sayyaf’s auxiliary threat group based in Sumisip town in Basilan,” he said.
He said Umangkat was previously under Abu Sayyaf leader Furuji Indama and Abas Alam and had been tagged as behind the ambushed of government troops in Basilan.