Abu Sayyaf camp in Basilan falls

A SUSPECTED bandit was killed while two members of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT) were wounded in an assault that led to the capture of an Abu Sayyaf camp in the hinterlands of Basilan, a military official said Sunday.

Major Filemon Tan, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) information officer, said the assault was carried out around 10:20 a.m. Sunday on an Abu Sayyaf camp at Sitio Buhe Buug in the village of Macalang, Al-Barka, Basilan.

Tan said the assault was jointly carried out by the Army’s 18th Infantry Battalion, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) members and BPAT members from the towns of Sumisip, Tuburan, Akbar and Al-Barka.

Tan said the captured camp belongs to the group of Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon.

“This (captured camp) is one of the camps na iniikutan niya (Hapilon),” Tan added.

He said Hapilon’s group splintered into smaller groups and fled to different directions.

He said the troops recovered a cadaver of suspected Abu Sayyaf member and eight improvised bombs during the clearing operation that followed after the camp was captured.

He said the two BPAT members were injured when an improvised bomb exploded during the clearing operations.

He said the injured BPAT members were taken to a hospital in Zamboanga City.

The troops are continuously tracking down the group of Hapilon who are on the run, he added.

Hapilon is the only Abu Sayyaf leader who remains alive among the five who were indicted in 2002 in Guam and in the United States for their role in the 2000 Dos Palmas kidnapping of 20 people -- 17 Filipinos and three Americans -- and the eventual beheading of one of the Americans, Guillermo Sobero.

The other four, namely, Khadaffy Janjalani, Hamsiraji Sali, Aldam Tilao alias Abu Sabaya, and Jainal Antel Sali Jr., were killed in separate military offensives. (Sunnex)

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