A TOP military official said Sunday the death of an Abu Sayyaf leader and five others is a victory not only to the military but also for the residents of Sulu province.

Abu Sayyaf leader Albader Parad and five of his followers were killed in an hour long firefight between the government troops and the Abu Sayyaf camp around 7 a.m. Sunday in Karawan village, Indanan town, Sulu.

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“This (Parad's death) is a severe blow versus ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group) leadership but a major victory for the peace-loving people of Sulu who had been cooperating with our Marines by providing vital information about the bandit group,” Lieutenant Colonel Edgard Arevalo, Philippine Navy spokesman, said.

Arevalo said the killing of Parad and five of his followers was a result of decisive surgical combat operations launched by the military troops stationed in Sulu.

Arevalo said the ground troops from the Philippine Marines were aided by close air support from the Philippine Air Force as well as Naval barriers along the shore line to prevent the escape of the Abu Sayyaf bandits.

“This has been the third in a series of deliberate attacks by the Fleet-Marine Team backed by Air Force assault aircrafts,” Arevalo disclosed.

“These law enforcement actions by the Marines came in the heels of the atrocities the bandits continue to perpetrate,” he added.

Arevalo said the Navy leadership will continue to spearhead operations to hunt down the remnants of the Abu Sayyaf Group following the case build-up that led to the arrest of Jumdail Arad.

Arad was arrested around 5:15 p.m. Thursday at Pier 2 in North Harbor, Manila. (Bong Garcia)