ZAMBOANGA CITY -- An Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) spotter was killed in a law enforcement operation in the province of Tawi-Tawi, the military reported Monday, February 20.

Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) Chief Carlito Galvez, Jr. identified the slain ASG spotter as Al Abdullah, who was killed in a firefight shortly after 5 p.m. Sunday in the waters of Great Bakungan, Turtle Islands, Tawi-Tawi.

Galvez said the troops conducted maritime security patrol off the waters of Bakungan after they received report about the presence of kidnap-for-ransom group (KFRG) members in the area.

He said Abdullah, who was invited for questioning, admitted he owns the house where the suspected KFRG members stayed. Abdullah identified them as Musub Baudin, Man Baudi and a certain Absar.

He added Abdullah asked permission to go home and was allowed by the troops.

Galvez, however, said Abdullah returned armed with an M-16 Armalite rifle and opened fire, thus, the firefight that resulted to his death.

Recovered from his possession was an M-16 Armalite rifle with several rounds of ammunition.

The Wesmincom chief said the death of Abdullah is a big setback on the ASG as they continue to intensify the conduct of law enforcement operations along with the police and maximize intelligence monitoring to prevent kidnappings within the area of operations of Wesmincom. (SunStar Philippines)