ZAMBOANGA CITY: Police commandos, backed by military troops, raided a hideout of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) before dawn on Tuesday and killed its sub-leader who was tagged as behind a spate of kidnappings for ransom in Zamboanga Sibugay.
Officials said two ASG gunmen and a Special Action Force (SAF) commando were also wounded during the firefight at Barangay Tampalan in Alicia, Zamboanga Sibugay.
The slain terrorist leader was identified as Imam Yasin.
Two of Yasin’s followers – Auhaie Mohammad Abdulkarim and Murad Mohammad – were wounded and captured by the raiders.
Also wounded was Police Officer 2 Larry Palidnang, a member of the 84th SAF, and brought to hospital in the nearby town of Ipil.
Officials said security forces recovered weapons from the hideout of Yasin, who was facing a string of criminal charges in Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga del Norte provinces.
No other details were made available by the police and military on the operation and how it tracked down Yasin’s group.
The raid was conducted after ASG rebels freed on Monday an eight-year old boy who was kidnapped along with his parents in the town of Payao, also in Zamboanga Sibugay last August. (See related story in A1)
The boy, whose father and mother had been separately freed on ransom last year, was released in Patikul, Sulu after his family reportedly paid an unspecified amount of ransom.
The ASG has been holding over two dozen Asian sailors since last year after rebels hijacked their cargo ships off Sabah in Malaysia, Tawi-Tawi and Basilan provinces in the Muslim autonomous region.
Just recently, the group released a video on the beheading of German sailor Jurgen Kantner after his family failed to raise a P30million ransom demanded by the ISIS-affiliate Abu Sayyaf rebels.