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Mindanao cops on full alert amid neutralization of 4 ASG bandits

June 19, 2021 Alfred P. Dalizon 424 views

PHILIPPINE National Police chief General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar has placed all concerned Mindanao police units on full alert and ready for possible retaliatory attacks of the ISIS-inspired Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) following the recent killing of four of their top operatives in a gunfight with security troops in Jolo, Sulu.

Shot dead during the June 13 counter-terror operation were top Abu Sayyaf bomber Mundi Sawadjaan’s brother, Al-Al Sawadjaan; ASG sub-leader Injam Yadah; an ASG member identified as Raup; and a still unidentified ASG member.

“I am tasking the local police to go on full alert dahil ine-expect din po natin na posibleng gumanti ang mga natitirang miyembro lalo’t kapatid ni Mundi Sawadjaan ang isa sa mga napatay sa engkwentro,” Eleazar said.

“Sinisiguro ko po sa publiko na hindi po namin hahayaang makapaghasik ng kaguluhan ang grupong ito,” added the PNP chief.

State security forces were about to serve a warrant of arrest against Yadah when the Abu Sayyaf terrorists fired at them, prompting the police and the military to retaliate.

Authorities said Yadah was involved in kidnapping incidents while Sawadjaan had knowledge of the bombing at the Jolo Cathedral last year.

Eleazar assured that the police and military will further intensify joint operations to capture Mundi and the remaining bandits.

“We are doubling our efforts to capture Mundi and his men. We will intensify our coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines as well as our intelligence gathering efforts to combat this group and stop their attacks on innocent civilians,” the top cop said.

At the same time, he also urged the public to remain vigilant and immediately report to authorities if they have information that can help locate the bandits.

According to the PNP chief, members of the PNP Special Action Force headed by Brigadier Gen. Felipe R. Natividad, the Sulu Criminal Investigation and Detection Provincial Field Unit, the Sulu Police Provincial Office and the Philippine Army conducted the operation in Upper Alat, Barangay Alat in Jolo, Sulu around 1:30 a.m. last Sunday.

Eleazar said that a wife of Yadah identified as Jenalyn Habiri Jairi alias ‘Jhing’ was arrested during the operation. Police also took custody of three children of the Yadah couple.

“During the entry in the area, the target personalities fired upon the operating troops of the Light Regiment Company of the Army which prompted them to make necessary actions that resulted to the neutralization of the four suspects,” he said.

Recovered at the scene of the encounter were one M-16 automatic rifle, one caliber .45 pistol, several live ammunition, components of improvised explosive devices including detonating cords and a blasting cap as well as a mobile phone and a motorcycle.

Eleazar said that Yaddar is wanted for his involvement in the kidnapping of several foreign nationals in Mindanao, the latest of which was the abduction of Rex Triplett in Sirawai, Zamboanga Sibugay last September 2020, and five Indonesian fishermen in the waters of Malaysia in January 2020.

The foreign nationals were later rescued by troops in Tawi-Tawi.

The PNP chief said that Al-Al Sawadjaan is the brother of the notorious bomber Mundi Sawadjaan who has been monitored to have volunteered to become a ‘suicide bomber.’

The two other slain suspects were reported to be members of the ISIS-inspired Dawlah Islamiyah/ASG under the Yaddah brothers.

The bodies of the four slain terrorists were brought to the Army’s 11th Infantry Division for proper disposition.

“While we perform our primary obligation to serve and protect our people, it is also our duty to give our best in the government’s fight against communist insurgency and terrorism as we implement the Intensified Cleanliness Policy,” Eleazar said.

He added that they are fully supporting the Armed Forces in its effort to quell threats posed by terrorist groups and communist insurgents in Mindanao and other parts of the country.