• $1 MILLION BOUNTY

    Usman ‘double-crossed’

    11
    GAME OVER  This pictures of suspected bomb maker Abdul Basit Usman released on Monday by Malacañang and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

    GAME OVER
    This pictures of suspected bomb maker Abdul Basit Usman released on Monday by Malacañang and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

    Authorities and leaders of Muslim communities on Monday confirmed reports that Abdul Basit Usman, the suspected bomb expert who carries a $1-million bounty on his head, was killed in a gunbattle in Maguindanao.

    But as to who pulled the trigger that ended the search for the Filipino who was listed among America’s “most wanted” terrorists remains a mystery.

    Malacañang and the military released a photo of the dead Usman.

    Security forces had been hunting Usman since he escaped from a January police raid that killed Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir, or Marwan, an alleged bomb maker who was the subject of a $5-million US government bounty.

    Usman, a Filipino, was also identified by the military as well as US authorities as a bomb-making expert with links to the Abu Sayyaf and the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist organizations.

    US authorities consider Usman as a threat to US and Filipino citizens and interests. He is believed to have orchestrated several bombings that have killed, injured and maimed many innocent civilians, a briefer from the United States Rewards for Justice Program read.

    “Basit has been indicted in the Philippines for his role in multiple bombing incidents since 2003, and the Government of the Philippines has issued a warrant for his arrest. He is believed to be hiding in central Mindanao,” the briefer said.

    Security forces accuse Usman of carrying out at least nine bombing incidents in the South, including an attack on the port city of General Santos in 2002 that killed 15 people and wounded 60 others.

    Usman was also among the personalities involved in the Islamic State (IS) or “black flag movement” in the Philippines.

    According to intelligence sources, he is the head of the Ansarul Khilafah (supporters of the caliphate) operating in southern Mindanao including General Santos City, which had pledged allegiance to the IS caliphate last year.

    Usman was among the “high-valued targets” who escaped the anti-terrorist operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, that resulted in the death of 44 police commandos on January 25.

    According to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), he was killed in a remote mountainous area while being escorted by its members, the rebel group’s vice chairman Ghazali Jaafar said.

    “We can confirm that Usman is dead and his body was buried in accordance with Muslim tradition,” Jaafar told Agence France-Presse, but he refused to say who killed him.

    The military, however, said Usman was killed by no less than his men who allegedly fought among themselves over the $1-million bounty on the wanted bomb-maker.

    The Armed Forces chief of staff, Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr., said Usman had been killed, but that it remained unclear as to who killed him.

    Citing field reports, Catapang added that Usman and five of his unidentified cohorts were killed in a shootout on Sunday morning near an MILF camp in Guindulungan, Maguindanao.

    “Basit Usman is dead, as to the circumstances of what happened during that encounter, it’s up to [investigators],” he told reporters.

    The military said five of Usman’s followers had also died in the battle, and that some of his own men may have double-crossed him.

    Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala, the military spokesman, said they “believe there was fighting among Usman’s followers because of the monetary reward put on his head.”

    “Sources on the ground believe that there was infighting among Usman’s followers fueled by the tussle for the huge monetary reward that was put on his head,” Catapang said.

    “The AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] is validating reports that Usman became distrustful of some of his own men after a series of encounters between the AFP and his group in the past two months,” he added.

    Earlier reports from the provincial police said Usman was killed by members of the MILF’s 118th Base Command in Barangay Muti.

    The reports said Usman and five of his unidentified cohorts were killed in a shootout with members of the the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Sitio Takeneken.

    The shootout happened near the vicinity of Camp Afghan, a temporary relocation site for MILF members who left their homes after a massive police and military operation against the BIFF was launched in the last week of February.

    The AFP said the MILF members who are temporarily staying at the camp rushed to the scene and discovered the dead bodies. Also found were an M60 general purpose machine gun, a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) and a caliber 5.56mm Bushmaster rifle.

    MILF’s Jaafar said Usman was killed as MILF rebels were escorting him to the group’s leaders to surrender, adding that he probably did not know he was being taken back to the MILF leaders.

    “There was a firefight along the way. Usman could have sensed that he was being double-crossed,” Jaafar said.

    He,however, refused to give any more details as to who killed Usman, saying only that the circumstances of the firefight were under investigation.

    Moro leaders, police and various MILF officials also confirmed Usman’s death.

    Guindulungan Mayor Midpantao Midtimbang and Maguindanao police director Senior Supt. Nickson Muksan on Sunday afternoon made the confirmation, citing a report from Barangay Muti Chairman Gayak Midtimbang.

    MILF leaders including Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) liaison officer Toks Opham and Kagui Manan Masabpi, logistic/supply officer of Ustadz Wahid Tundok, commander of the 118th base command, also confirmed Usman’s killing.

    No effect
    Malacanang also on Monday assured that the MILF’s role in Usman’s killing will not change government findings that MILF rebels were among those who participated in the Mamasapano clash.

    In a news conference, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said t the Department of Justice’s recommendation to charge some MILF members with murder and theft over the killing of the 44 police commandos still stands.

    “Based on the study and case build-up, they have findings… on who are responsible for the deaths of the PNP-SAF [police commandos]and this has not changed…Our laws will still be implemented,” Coloma told reporters.

    He said even before Usman’s death, there had been several instances when the MILF had shown that it is committed to uphold the peace process with the government.

    According to Coloma, the MILF has been helping the Philippine government in various law enforcement operations.

    WITH CATHERINE S. VALENTE

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    11 Comments

    1. Is anybody really sure that this Abdul Basit Usman is even dead?! There are good Makeup Artist that can make someone look dead even if they are not. How convenient that this Most Wanted is “killed” by his own people. I don’t buy it. Is this sudden event suppose to “buy the Confidence” of the People of the Philippines to urgently pass the BBL. I should hope NOT!! Aquino has a larger stake in this matter than he is make the Citizens believe. WHY,does he want this passed? If, this BBL is passed, Filipinos can kiss Mindanao goodbye and before you know it, it is joined with the Malaysian Federation. And what about the Majority of Christian Residence of Mindanao? They will not stand a chance and be forced out! The Philippine Flag will need to be changed minus one start and the Sun missing rays! People of the Philippines, for your own sake, and your children’s children. Aquino is a TRAITOR to the Country he profess his Allegiance to, just like his father before him and his father’s father before him, ALL TRAITORS TO THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES!!!

    2. It is appalling and highly questionable why the Aquino administration is doing everything to push the BBL approval by associating the treacherous murder of a terrorist Usman by the MILF as a sign that they are sincere for the peace in Mindanao! They key for sincerity is for them to laydown their arms, pledge allegiance to our flag and constitution and cooperate for the development of industries. No businessman will invest in a land full of terrorists!…Or is it because election is fast approaching and so they are making this as an excuse to approve the committed billions to the terrorists and get their share for the election expenses at the expense of our National security and sovereignty. This move is very dangerous. It will open our Nation for Islamic control once the BaBaLa is pass by the congress because they are bribed. What about our National interest as a Nation! Be awaken and see beyond the vision of the Islamic state. We can not remain silent and see our Nation disintegrate due to ignorance of History and unpatriotism. Please have your sense of Justice and righteousness rule for the sake of our Nation’s survival and security! God Bless our nation!

    3. so another one queuing for 70 virgins. they must have plenty in their stock under process..

    4. So, it is a good move to put high price on the heads of wanted criminals. They kill each other in order to get the bounty. Why not do the same to other high profile criminals like the leader of Abu Sayaf, so that his own men will kill him or better if they will have infighting and kill each other in the process.

    5. Malacanang is quick to grab the limelight, Coloma issued a statement that expresses MILF’s sincerity in the slaying of Usman. However, the narrative goes differently here, because the shootout was a result of treachery – the escorts were distrustful of each other due to the bounty placed on the head of Usman.

      And, to see through this recent development, the MILF as an organization, shows that their leadership does not have any form of control over its members – questions should now be posed. What is sincere in the words of Iqbal, Murad and Jaafar when no one is held accountable among their murderous members? What sort of peace can MILF bring in Mindanao, when their members will not think twice to kill their own kind?

      Surely, the rest of the Filipinos now have a window to view what is in store if BBL is passed, treachery not peace will reign in Mindanao, and no peace will be achieved because a new faction will spurt out whenever their personal demands are not met – sharing or owning huge amount of wealth and power.

    6. What a drama! The killing of USMAN and his followers, as I see it , is like a novel story of treachery and sacrifice for the higher goal of the MILF. USAMAN has been living with the MILF, thus , he knew so many things about the movement. This is the gist of the whole story.

    7. Usman KO’d by Pacman

      So, just as Usman was settling down with some popcorn to watch the Pacquaio fight he was felled by a one,two, rat a tat tat! You win some, you lose some. At least he didn’t miss a great fight.

      Or, Usman could just be on a long all expenses paid vacation somewhere exotic with 72 virgins!

      Nobody ever discovered what happened to Lord Lucan, or Shergar the champion racehorse, either

      MILF and the karaoke king Pnoy Aquino, celebrated with a rendition of Donna Summer’s – ‘ State of Independence’

      Must go. Have just seen Elvis Presley in the Supermarket.

      • Like I’ve been saying, it’s all about money. they will willingly sell out their mother even. Poor usman the life of a fugitive; can’t even rest to enjoy a radio broadcast without being zapped. We got to thank Manny and gayweather for providing the opportunity to send this stinko to his so called paradise with 72 virgin? At the rate the terrorist are being liquidated I hope they don’t run out of “virgins” soon . More will be coming.

    8. This news narrative seems to point out that Usman was killed for the money, was double-crossed to collect the bounty for him. This is just like the story of the BBL, the key factor is not peace but the monetary rewards for the leaders expected from it’s approval.