4 Abu Sayyaf killed in Sulu clash with MNLF
Roel Pareño (philstar.com) - August 9, 2016 - 4:30pm
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines -- A sub-leader of the Abu Sayyaf and three of his followers were killed Tuesday morning in an encounter with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) who are trying to secure the release of seven Indonesian sailors in Sulu, a military official said.
 
Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said MNLF fighters led by commanders Taib Sahibad, Alih Kipli and Abraham Joel clashed with the Abu Sayyaf group led by Alhabshy Misaya at Barangay Tanjung, Kalinggalang Caluang town around 7 a.m.
 
The MNLF claims to have killed Jennor Lahab, alias Kumander Jim Dragon. Other Abu Sayyaf members killed in the clash, including Lahab's son, have yet to be identified.
They also recovered two M14 rifles, an M16 rifle and an M4 rifle from the bandits.
 
Tan said Kumander Jim Dragon was involved in the abduction of 10 Indonesian sailors last March 26. The victims were released two weeks later after negotiations.
 
He said the encounter was an offshoot of the ongoing efforts of the MNLF to help facilitate the safe release of a new batch of seven Indonesian sailors abducted in the third week last June.
 
It will be recalled that the MNLF facilitated the release last April of 10 Indonesian sailors. Another batch of four Indonesians was also freed with the help of the MNLF.
 
The Abu Sayyaf is currently holding three Timorese, five Malaysian sailors, two westerners and four locals captive in Sulu.
 
Tan said the MNLF operation and its efforts against the Abu Sayyaf were not sanctioned by the military. However, he said, the military welcomes the assistance to maintain peace and order in the province.
 
“Intelligence reports say there is [an] effort by the MNLF to help destroy the Abu Sayyaf bandits because they caused chaos in the community. Anybody can help bring justice to those they have victimized,” Tan said.

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