ASG BANDIT SLAIN AS TROOPS HUNT DOWN JOLO CHURCH BOMBERS
ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Troops have neutralized a member of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in a firefight as an operation was launched against the culprits behind the twin bombing of a Catholic church in Jolo, Sulu, military officials said Wednesday.
Lt. Col. Gerry Besana, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) information officer, said the firefight ensued around 5:40 a.m. in Barangay Latih, Patikul, Sulu.
Besana identified the slain ASG bandit as Ommal Usop, a follower of the ASG’s Ajang-Ajang group led by Ben Saudi.
Besana said the firefight ensued as Usop resisted arrest, prompting the joint military and police forces to return fire in a raid in Sitio Kalimayahan.
Besana said the troops recovered a .45-caliber pistol with five live ammunitions and a sniper scope.
He said the target of the raid was a certain Kamah, a member of the Ajang-Ajang group, who was one of the four suspects behind Sunday's blasts that rocked the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Barangay Walled City, Jolo, Sulu.
He said Kamah, who is the logistics officer of the ASG, has eluded arrest during the raid.
“As of this posting, troops continue to pursue Kamah,” he said.
The Joint Task Force Sulu troops have turned over the remains of Usop to the barangay officials of Latih for proper disposition.
The raid was launched two days after the President Rodrigo Duterte left a marching order for government troops to crush the ASG in Sulu.
“Military forces are on pursuit to capture Kamah and the rest of the militants, who are now hiding from the government troops. Expect that, with the pronouncement of the Commander-in-Chief, we will intensify our focused military operations to pound down the remaining terrorists and penetrate strongholds of the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu,” Westmincom chief, Lt. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega said. (PNA)