THE security forces in a mission to rescue dozens of kidnap victims still being held by the Abu Sayyaf Group on Sunday pinned down a deputy Abu leader in a brief firefight in Parang, Sulu.
Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu, said ASG sub-leader Badong Muktadil was killed in an encounter with the Marines in the coastal waters of Silangkan village around 1:10 a.m.
Sobejana said Fleet-Marine Forces of the JTF were operating in the seawaters of Silangkan village against the Abu Sayyaf when the seaborne troops spotted the group of Muktadil aboard a watercraft cruising the village.
Minutes later, the troops engaged the Muktadil group in a firefight and killed Muktadil on the spot.
With Muktadil were with nine other Abu Sayyaf bandits aboard the watercraft when they were surprised by gunfire from the Marine troopers.
Muktadil’s body was recovered by the troops and was subsequently brought to Camp General Teodolfo Bautista Station Hospital in Busbus, Jolo.
“The neutralization of Muktadil is another big setback on the ASG, particularly on their kidnapping and terroristic activities, and it made the residents in Sulu feel some relief from the threat posed by Badong’s group,” Sobejana said.
He said Muktadil’s group had five warrants of arrest for kidnapping and serious illegal detention and another for murder.
Muktadil’s group, Sobejana said, was wanted by the Malaysian authorities for it complicity in the attacks on foreign vessels and the abduction in the maritime borders of Tawi-Tawi and Sabah, Malaysia.
Muktadil was involved the abduction of Taiwanese national Chang An Wei, also known as Evelyn Chan, at the Pon Pon Island Resort in Sabah on November 15, 2013, that resulted in the killing of an unidentified male companion of the kidnap victim.
He also figured in the hijacking of the Vietnamese vessel m/v Giang Hai at the Pearl Bank in Tawi-Tawi in February this year.
Sobejana attributed the success of Muktadil’s death to the close cooperation of local citizens in the area who immediately tipped-off ASG’s presence.
“The JTF Sulu would like to thank the concerned citizens and the local government in the area for promptly informing us about the presence of the lawless elements that led their neutralization,” Sobejana said.