ZAMBOANGA CITY: Government troops killed two Abu Sayyaf fighters and captured another jihadist during a rescue of an abducted Filipino sailor in Basilan early on Saturday morning.
Army captain Jo-ann Petinglay, spokeswoman for the Western Mindanao Command, said five motorized boats used by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in their kidnapping activities and piracy were also seized by soldiers in the towns of Al-Barka and Tuburan, where the two jihadists were killed.
One of them, Jaudi Salapuddin, was involved in the recent hijacking of Panamian cargo ship Super Roro 9 off Basilan, several nautical miles south of Zamboanga City. The bandits also seized the ship’s engineer Laurence Tito and captain Aurelio Agacac who was rescued by soldiers.
The other slain jihadist was identified as Bistahan Nisalun.
Petinglay said soldiers also captured Rolly Ikih at the house of Vanessa Lajiman, a village councilor of Tumahubong in Sumisip town. Troops also seized a caliber .45 pistol and ammunition from Ikih who is wanted by authorities in Basilan.
It was unknown why Ikih was in the home of Lajiman or whether the village official tipped off the military about him.
“We are doing our best to rescue all the kidnap victims within our area of operations however; this is one challenge that your Armed Forces cannot address alone. We need the help and the support of every peace-loving Filipinos in this fight,” Maj. Gen. Carlito Galvez, the regional military commander, said.
The Abu Sayyaf is still holding over two dozen Asian sailors kidnapped off Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and Sabah in Malaysia. Al Jacinto