The military said troops had killed two members of the bandit group Abu Sayyaf, including a sub-leader, in separate clashes between the two sides on Friday while six Bangsa Moro Islamic Freedom Fighters surrendered to authorities in Maguindanao that day.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) identified the suspects as ASG sub-leader Hatib Munap Binda and Bensio Barahama, father of another Abu sub-leader, Sansibar Bensio.
“Based on our records, Binda is the senior leader of the ASG operating in the municipalities of Kalingalan Caluang and Panamao, Sulu. He had been a member of the said terrorist organization since 2002,” said Wesmincom commander, Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. said.
He said Binda “was an associate of the late ASG sub-leader Alhabsi Misaya” and was involved in the series of kidnappings in “the tri-boundaries of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Philippines.”
Binda was killed during an encounter with troops from the Marine Battalion Landing Team-1 at Bud Bawis Complex, Barangay Kawasan, Panamao, Sulu at 5:45 a.m. Friday.
An hour later, another team of the MBLT-1 encountered the ASG group under its sub-leader Sansibar Bensio a few meters away from the previous encounter site.
Sansibar Bensio, of the Panamao-based ASG, is allegedly involved in kidnap-for-ransom activities targeting foreign nationals including Swiss national Lorenzo Vinciguerra and Indonesians Maharudin Bin Lunani and Muhammad Farhan.
“The encounter lasted for about 20 minutes which resulted in the death of a certain Bensio Barahama and the recovery of one M14 rifle,” said MBLT-1 Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Marvin Salvan.
Vinluan, Jr. said Badtogan Amino, a.k.a. Alas Amino/Boy Alas, the sub-group leader of the Bungos Faction, and his followers Rasid Sangkali, Nasrudin Talib, Mohammad Abdul Samad, Khulo Amino and Aladin Gaapar surrendered to the 1st Mechanized Infantry Battalion.
“With all our substantial gains and successful campaigns, Joint Task Force Central will remain steadfast in working for lasting peace in central Mindanao,” said Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, Joint Task Force Central Commander.
To date, a total of 191 officials and members of the BIFF have been disarmed through their surrender since January.