Abu leader Sawadjaan slain in Sulu clash?
Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) - July 10, 2020 - 12:00am

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Police are verifying intelligence reports that Abu Sayyaf leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, said to be the new emir of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia, has died.

The Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) is verifying the report.

Reports received by the Sulu provincial police office showed that Sawadjaan died on Wednesday while being treated for gunshot wounds he suffered during an encounter with Scout Rangers in Patikul, Sulu on Monday.

Sawadjaan was reportedly buried by his followers led by Mundi, also surnamed Sawadjaan, around 2 p.m. yesterday.

Scout Ranger units under the Joint Task Force Sulu clashed with around 40 Abu Sayyaf bandits under Radullan Sahiron and Sawadjaan in a series of firefight on Monday that left five bandits dead and two soldiers wounded.

The first encounter occurred in Sitio Libug Wani, Barangay Bakung.

Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. said the soldiers clashed with around 30 followers of Sahiron and Sawadjaan in Sitio Lumbaan, Barangay Buhanginan after an hour.

Another Scout Ranger team encountered around 40 Abu Sayyaf bandits in Sitio Bakud Uwak, Barangay Tanum, where Sawadjaan was believed to have been critically wounded.

The US state department included Sawadjaan on its list of global terrorists.

The Abu Sayyaf leader was tagged as the mastermind in the Jolo Cathedral bombing in January 2019 that left 23 people dead and 109 wounded.

The military said Sawadjaan was also the brains in the twin suicide bombings at a military camp in Indanan, Sulu in June, also last year.

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