5 Abu bandits killed in Basilan, Sulu
Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) - April 25, 2019 - 12:00am

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Four Abu Sayyaf bandits were killed in a military offensive in Basilan before dawn yesterday.

A sub-leader of the militant group was also slain in an encounter with soldiers in Sulu on Tuesday. 

The military said the bodies of four bandits were recovered during clearing operations in Sitio Gipitan, Barangay Bohe Pahu, Ungkaya Pukan.

Three rifles were recovered at the scene. 

Brig. Gen. Fernando Reyeg, Joint Task Force Basilan and 104th Brigade commander, said air support were also deployed to assist  personnel of the Joint Task Force Basilan.

In Sulu, Hapidz Abdurahman was killed in a 10-minute gunfight with Marines in Barangay Tambulian, Pata, Col. Gerry Besana, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) spokesman, said.

Besana said Abdurahman had a pending warrant of arrest for murder and illegal possession of firearms.

A watercraft and a Garand rifle were recovered from the fatality. 

Westmincom chief Lt. Gen. Arnel dela Vega said he reminded ground troops to come up with measures to counter possible sympathetic attacks following the bombings in Sri Lanka that left more than 300 people dead and 400 others wounded.

“The sustained military operations... manifest the commitment of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) in fulfilling its mandate... in Basilan,” Dela Vega said. 

“We are building up... intelligence operations to pursue, pressure and defeat Abu Sayyaf militants in Sulu,“ he added.

The military gave assurance on the safety of villagers, saying government forces would abide by the rules of engagement and coordinate with concerned local government officials.

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