Westmincom confirms death of Abu Sayyaf leader Furuji Indama

Roel Pareño - Philstar.com
Westmincom confirms death of Abu Sayyaf leader Furuji Indama

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Furuji Indama, the last Basilan-based senior Abu Sayyaf leader, was killed in a recent clash with the military, the Western Mindanao Command said.
Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Westmincom chief, made the confirmation after a follower of Indama was killed Thursday in an encounter with government forces in Ungkaya Pukan town, Basilan.

Vinluan said Indama was killed on September 9 as tracking forces of the 44th Infantry Battalion launched an assault in the coastal town of R.T Lim town, Zamboanga Sibugay.

The troops initially clashed with Indama's group on September 6 after it met up with a kidnap-for-ransom band in Alicia town. The clash left one of Indama's followers dead and an undetermined number of others injured. 

The Abu Sayyaf fled towards R.T. Lim and were reportedly headed back to Basilan when troops tracked them down in a mangrove area in the town's Sitio Lomo.

Five of the Abu Sayyaf, including Indama, were killed while two soldiers were wounded in the assault. Confirmation of Indama's death was only recently verified by a military intelligence unit, Vinluan said. 

Indama was a close associate and second-in-command of Abu Sayyaf leader and Islamic State emir Isnilon Hapilon, who was killed at the height of the Marawi siege in 2017.

Indama, who was groomed to succeed Hapilon, was notorious for kidnapping for ransom and had managed to elude military operations against him in Basilan.

Vinluan said troops also killed Botak Kerok, a follower of Indama, in Felang village, Ungkaya Pukan town, Basilan on Thursday afternoon.

"The neutralized personality was onboard a motorcycle along with two of his comrades when they were intercepted by the operating troops of the 101st Infantry Brigade and the 18th Infantry Battalion, and the firefight ensued," said Vinluan.

"The troops recovered the dead body of Botak, one M60 machine gun, and one motorcycle at the clash site,," he also said.

Col. Domingo Gobway, commander of Joint Task Force Basilan (JTFB) and the 101st Infantry Brigade, said troops are going after two other companions of Botak who managed to escape.

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