4 Abu bandits slain in Sulu encounter

John Unson (The Philippine Star) - June 14, 2021 - 12:00am

ZAMBOANGA CITY , Philippines — Four Abu Sayyaf bandits including a ranking member and a brother of a bomb expert were killed during a brief firefight in downtown Jolo, Sulu at dawn yesterday.

Abu Sayyaf subleader Injam Yadah and his followers – Al-Al Sawadjaan, an alias Rauf and an unidentified bandit – died at the scene of the encounter that occurred at around 2 a.m. in Barangay Alat, according to Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., chief of the Western Mindanao Command.

Sawadjaan was a brother of known Abu Sayyaf bomb expert Mundi Sawadjaan, Vinluan said.

Mundi is wanted for last year‘s twin suicide bombings in Jolo.

Police officers and troopers from the Army’s 35th Infantry Battalion (IB) went to Yadah’s house to serve a warrant for his arrest.

“The terrorists sensed the arrival of the government security forces and fired at them, triggering an encounter that resulted in the death of four bandits,” Vinluan said.

During the raid, the police and military forces arrested Yadah’s wife, Jenalyn Habibi Jairi, and rescued their three children.

Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, chief of the Joint Task Force Sulu and of the Army’s 11th Infantry Division, said Yadah was wanted for kidnapping and murder of captives whose families could not pay ransom.

“Yadah was known to be extremely violent, beheading captives and members of government security forces. His hideous acts have now come to an end,” Gonzales said in a statement.

Lt. Col. Wilfredo Borgonia, chief of the Army’s 35th IB, said Yadah was involved in the kidnapping of foreigners and locals including the wife and daughter of a mayor in 2018.

Yadah‘s recent terror activities included the kidnapping of land owner Rex Triplett in Sirawai, Zamboanga del Norte, and doctor Daniel Moreno in Jolo last year, Borgonia said.

He said Yadah was also involved in the kidnapping of four Indonesians who were rescued in March.

Gonzales said his troopers in Sulu have intensified the manhunt for Mundi.

He expressed optimism that Mundi would soon be captured as his brothers were all killed in the series of military operations.

“When that day comes, we can say that we have achieved total peace in the province. The local government and people here are one with us in this endeavor,” Gonzales said. – Neil Jayson Servallos, Romina Cabrera

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