Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Captured Sayyaf sub-leader, 4 others turn up dead in Sabah in alleged shootout a week later

'Captured alive on May 8, killed on May 17 in alleged clash with Sabah police'

FIVE ABU Sayyaf terrorists were killed following an alleged gun battle that erupted during a police raid on their hideout near Taman Sri Arjuna in Beaufort, a small town in Sabah, but one of those slain was actually captured alive along with 7 other militants a week earlier in the same area.

(From Eastern Sabah Security Command)

(Front the Daily Express)

(From Eastern Sabah Security Command)

The official Malaysian news agency Bernama said the fighting occurred May 17 at a mangrove area where police commandos and members of the elite Eastern Sabah Security Command captured the eight terrorists and 29 other Filipinos, including women and children, during a special operation on May 8.

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hazani Ghazali said among those slain was Mabar Binda, a sub-leader of the pro-ISIS group, who was also wanted by the Philippine authorities. Hazani also identified the other three killed terrorists as Abhirsham Samsula, Jurakhdam Binda and Alsimar Sukarno. The other slain terrorist remains unidentified.

“With the death of the five members of the group, we believe that we have crippled yet another cell of Abu Sayyaf who have been hiding in Sabah and have pledged allegiance to the Daesh (ISIS) militant group,” Hazani said at a news conference on May 18.

“We also suspect that there are remnants of the group still hiding in Malaysia, especially in Sabah. We are investigating it,” he added.

Hazani said the Mabar Binda’s group clashed with policemen, who killed all 5 Abu Sayyaf fighters. He said police recovered two .45-caliber pistols and ammunition, including three machetes.

But Mabar Binda was among those captured alive by the Eastern Sabah Security Command along with another sub-leader Sansibar Bensio and Alim Sukarno, Bonijar Samsula, Lugah Sanchez, Sansis, Firdaus and Muayyar Binda.

It was unclear whether four of those slain were also among those captured alive in Beaufort. Their capture was even announced by Hazani himself during a news conference on May 10 with the Eastern Sabah Security Command providing photos of the terrorists.

But Hazani claimed Mabar Binda and five other terrorists managed to escape during the May 8 raid in Beaufort even though their photos showed all of them alive and hands tied behind their back.

The Philippine military’s Western Mindanao Command also confirmed the capture of Mabar Binda and the others by the Eastern Sabah Security Command in Beaufort town.

Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, chief of the Western Mindanao Command, said the operation launched by Malaysia was part of bilateral anti-terrorism efforts between the two countries.

“The strengthened collaboration and cooperation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Eastern Sabah Southern Command led to the apprehension of two notorious Abu Sayyaf Group sub-leaders and six of their followers in Sabah,” he said following the capture of Mabar Binda’s group, adding the intelligence that led to the capture of the Abu Sayyaf fighters was provided by the Joint Task Force Sulu to the Eastern Sabah Security Command. 

“Based on the report from the ground, the ESSCOM responded to the information provided by the Joint Task Force Sulu and launched a police special operation in Jalan Taman Sri Arjuna, Beaufort, Sabah around 3:00 o'clock in the morning of May 8, Saturday,” Vinluan said.

He also identified some of the arrested Abu Sayyaf terrorists as Sansibar Bensio, 40; Mabar Binda, 25; who are both Abu Sayyaf sub-leaders; and Muayyar Binda, 30; Firdaus; Lugah Sanchez, 45; Bonijar Samsula. 

Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu, also said Bensio and Binda were involved in the series of clashes with the military in Patikul town where they beheaded 2Lt. Michael Baladad, of the Philippine Marines. He said the two sub-leaders were also involved in the kidnappings of at least 10 Filipinos and Indonesian fishermen Samiun Bin Maneu, Maharudin Bin Lunani and Muhammad Farhan; and also Swiss national Lorenzo Vinciguerra, Dutchman Ewold Horn. 

Gonzales, citing intelligence report by Col. Hernanie Songano, commander of the 4th Marine Brigade, said: Due to the sustained intelligence, focused military operations, and civil-military cooperation in the province of Sulu, particularly in the Second District, the now-apprehended personalities escaped to Sabah and established an Abu Sayyaf cell base thereat, to spot probable kidnap victims and to facilitate (the entry of) foreign terrorist groups operating in the Southeast Asian countries, to conduct terror activities in the Philippines.” (Mindanao Examiner) 

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