Abu Sayyaf being funded by drug money – military

Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) - April 21, 2017 - 12:00am

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Aside from narco politics, the country may be suffering from narco terrorism.

Joint military and police forces killed a suspected Abu Sayyaf militant and arrested 34 others during an anti-illegal drug operation in a remote village in Patikul, Sulu.

Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., commander of Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), identified the slain Abu Sayyaf militant as Abu Jah.

A soldier was wounded during the firefight, he said.

Troops and policemen were able to arrest 34 people suspected to be involved in illegal drugs.

Galvez said they were tipped off by an informant of a place in Barangay Danag where the Abu Sayyaf were allegedly engaging in the illegal drug trade.

“This development can somehow prove that the Abu Sayyaf involved themselves in the drug trade to sustain their operations against the government and conduct terror attacks,” Galvez said.

Galvez believes local drug syndicates are funding the Abu Sayyaf for protection for their illegal activities.

Troops from the Army’s 45th Infantry Battalion and the provincial police launched the joint operation that led to the arrest of the 34 drug suspects.

The troops also seized an M16 rifle, three .45 pistols, five hand grenades and various drug paraphernalia at the site.

The 34 suspects were brought to the Sulu Provincial Police Office for questioning, officials said.

Meanwhile, a suspected Abu Sayyaf militant was arrested in Jolo town last Friday.

Samla Halil, a follower of Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Alden Bagade, was arrested by troops and policemen during a joint operation in Barangay Tulay. – With Lino dela Cruz

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