TWO alleged leaders of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and two of their members were killed in a joint police-military operation in Jolo, Sulu on Sunday, June 13, 2021.
One of the fatalities was identified as Al-al Sawadjaan, youngest brother of ASG bomber Mundi Sawadjaan and a sub-group leader of the terrorist group.
The Joint Task Force (JTF) Sulu identified two other fatalities as sub-group leader Injam Yadah and an individual known as Raup.
Another ASG member has not been identified.
Major General William Gonzales, JTF and 11th Infantry Division commander, said police and military personnel served an arrest warrant against Yadah over kidnapping charges in his residence in Barangay Alat.
Gonzales said the alleged terrorists fired upon them, prompting them to retaliate.
“We returned fire that resulted to the neutralization of four Abu Sayyafs,” he said.
Recovered from the scene were an M653 carbine rifle, caliber .45 pistol, improvised explosive device components and 15 mobile phones.
Gonzales said Yadah played a key role in the kidnapping of five Indonesian nationals in Malaysian waters in February 2020. These kidnap victims were rescued in Tawi-tawi in March.
He said the sub-group leader was also involved in the 2020 abduction of a certain Doctor Moreno in Jolo and Filipino-American Rex Triplett in Zamboanga del Norte.
"We've long been on the hunt for Yadah. He has a reputation of being extremely violent, beheading captured innocent civilians and security forces alike. Finally, his hideous acts will now come to a full stop," Gonzales said.
Al-al Sawadjaan, on the other hand, was linked to bomb making. He had allegedly pledged himself as a suicide bomber.
"All of our forces under JTF-Sulu are doubling our efforts to also catch Mundi Sawadjaan. His brothers are now dead and we are optimistic that he will also be neutralized. When that day comes, we can say that we have achieved total peace in the province. The local government and people here are alongside us in this endeavor," he said.
Mundi Sawadjaan was the alleged brains behind the August 24, 2020 twin bombings in Jolo that killed at least 15 people and wounded 75 others.
In 2019, Mundi’s eldest brother Nanz was killed in an encounter in Patikul, Sulu.
Two other brothers, Madsmar and Mannul, were among the seven ASG members killed in a daring military operation in the Sulu Sea in November 2020. (SunStar Philippines)