POLICE are intensifying intelligence operations to locate the “lost command” group of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels in the island province of Basilan, an official said Sunday.

Senior Superintendent Antonio Mendoza, Basilan police director, said police action will be immediately launched to finish off the rouge Moro rebel group, which is now running without a leader following the death of its commander.

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Mendoza said the group's leader Abogao Bayali and his cousin, Pajing Lakibul, died in a clash Saturday with militiamen in the town of Sumisip, Basilan province.

The clash ensued when the group of Bayali, numbering to around 20 gunmen, attacked a group of militiamen rendering security duty around 5 a.m. Saturday in the village of Central Sumisip, Sumisip town.

The clash also resulted in the death of a follower of Sumisip town mayor and injury of militiamen.

Mendoza said they received report that Bayali and Lakibul were buried by the remaining members of the group in the village of Guiong, Sumisip.

Mendoza said his men are validating the veracity of the report and intensifying intelligence monitoring “of the enemy location for police operations.”

He said it is the right time to finish off the group since it is demoralized by the death of its leader.

Mendoza said the police will not stop in pursuing Bayali's followers to put an end, once and for all, to the atrocities that the rebel group had been committing in Sumisip town and other parts of Basilan province. (Bong Garcia)