ZAMBOANGA CITY – Government soldiers captured an Abu Sayyaf militant transporting an improvised explosive in the southern Philippine province of Sulu, officials said Friday.
Army Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, a spokeswoman for the Western Mindanao Command, said the 24-year old Milham Saham was captured while attempting to cross a military checkpoint in Bangkay village in Patikul town before sundown Thursday.
She said soldiers put up the checkpoint after receiving an intelligence report Saham was transporting explosives in the village. Saham did not resist when troops stopped him at the checkpoint and yielded ammunition nitrate, fuel oil in a container fitted with a detonating cord, electrical wires and an electronic circuit assembly.
Saham is currently being interrogated by the 45th Infantry Battalion in an effort to extract information from him on the activities of the Abu Sayyaf, whose leaders have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
His capture came a day after troops clashed with militants in Talipao town, about 28 kilometers from Patikul. The fighting left 5 gunmen dead and five soldiers wounded in Upper Binuang village. The bodies of the slain Abu Sayyaf fighters were recovered by soldiers, including two automatic rifles, one of them with a grenade launcher, according to Petinglay.