7 ‘bandits’ slain in Sulu encounter  

Roel Pareño - The Philippine Star

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Seven men with alleged links to the Abu Sayyaf bandit group were killed while two others were arrested following an encounter in Parang, Sulu before dawn yesterday.

Another suspect managed to escape while a police officer and two civilians were wounded in the firefight that occurred at around 1:20 a.m. at the boundary of Maimbung and Parang, according to Col. Richard Verceles, operations chief of the Area Police Command-Western Mindanao.

Verceles identified the fatalities as Jimming Akjal, Juko Dahim, Aldimar Kanih, Gamil Halik and Norhan Pasi as well as Malik Eron and his son with the alias “Eron.”

Those arrested were identified as Julmin Amdan Asgali and Rogir Mukattir, alias Rojimar Dahim.

A manhunt was launched for Alganer Dawadil Dahim.

Reports said that agents of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group backed by Special Action Force commandos and personnel of the Provincial Force Mobile Company and Maimbung police were on their way to serve arrest warrants on Juko and his cohorts in Barangay Kapuk Punggol when the suspects reportedly opened fire at them.

The arresting team returned fire, triggering a clash that lasted 40 minutes and resulted in the death of the seven men.

The suspects were rushed to a nearby hospital, where they were declared dead on arrival.

Capt. Nolie Agmaliw suffered a gunshot wound in the hand, while civilians Alxia Lim, 2, and Crismalyn Tajid, 22, were hit by stray bullets.

The team recovered several assault rifles and ammunition as well as personal belongings from the scene of the encounter.

Police said Juko and his group were reportedly followers of the late Abu Sayyaf subleader Majan Sahidjuan, alias Apo Mike, who was tagged in kidnapping activities.

Verceles said Juko was allegedly involved in kidnapping and illegal drug activities as well as in armed encounters with government forces that resulted in the deaths of civilians.

He said Juko was among armed men who ambushed and killed former Sulu police director Col.  Julasirim Kasim in Maimbung in May 2009.

Meanwhile, in Lanao del Sur, an officer of the Navy’s 2nd Marine Battalion was killed while three others were wounded in an ambush in Marogong town on Saturday afternoon.

Sgt. John Milbert Pamaran died at the scene of the ambush, while Cpl. Mark Anthony Bañares, Sgt. Jeram Aradji and Sgt. Joan Aniñon were taken to a hospital for treatment of gunshot wounds, according to Brig. Gen. John Guyguyon, Bangsamoro police director.

Local officials told journalists that Pamaran and his companions were on their way to a community outreach mission when they were attacked by alleged followers of the Dawlah Islamiya terror group led by Faharudin Hadji Satar in Barangay Cabarasan.

Both the police and the military said the ambush was reportedly meant to send a message that the forces of the Dawlah Islamiya in Lanao del Sur and other provinces in Central Mindanao have not been weakened by the surrender of almost 300 of their members in the past 14 months. –  John Unson


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