A military photo shows soldiers inspecting assorted weapons seized by security forces from a gang following a firefight in Omar town in Sulu province in southern Philippines.
ZAMBOANGA CITY – A gang leader, who is wanted by authorities for a string or criminal charges, was captured following a firefight that left 1 person dead and a civilian injured in Sulu province in southern Philippines, officials said on Thursday.
Army Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, a spokeswoman for the Western Mindanao Command, said Saudi Hamja was captured in the village of Capual in the town of Omar. One of his followers was also killed by soldiers and policemen in Wednesday clash, but a civilian had been injured in the cross-fire and rushed to hospital in Luuk town.
She said security forces seized three dozen automatic firearms, including a .50-caliber machine gun, grenade launchers and a Kalashnikov rifle from Hamja’s group which is believed to have links with the Abu Sayyaf.
“Police and military operations against lawless groups are ongoing,” Petinglay said.
Hamja is currently being interrogated in Sulu, one of 5 provinces under the restive Muslim autonomous region. It was not immediately known whether Hamja’s group was involved in Abu Sayyaf piracy and cross-border raids in Sabah.
The jihadist group has freed 5 kidnapped Malaysian and two Filipino sailors recently, but it is still holding about two dozen Asian seamen in the region. (Mindanao Examiner)