Abu Sayyaf member killed in S Philippines: military

16:58, September 19, 2010      

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A member of the Abu Sayyaf group involved in the celebrated Dos Palmas kidnapping was killed on Sunday following a gunfight with government forces in the southern Philippine province of Basila, a military commander said.

The slain suspect - Abdukarim Sali, alias Benjamin Sali and Ben Raffy - has a 350,000 peso (7,900 U.S. dollar) reward on his head for his neutralization, said Lt. Gen. Ben Dolorfino, chief of the military's Western Mindanao Command.

A joint military and police team was conducting law enforcement operations at Lower Mangas village, Lantawan town around 3 a.m. when Sali resisted arrest, Dolorfino said.

Sali figured in a 10-minute fire fight against the troops until he was slain. Recovered from his possession were one M16 rifle with M203 grenade launcher attached on it, ammunition for M16 and M203, cell phones and personal belongings.

Dolorfino said Sali had standing warrants for involvement in the May 2001 kidnapping of 20 tourists from the posh Dos Palmas resort in Palawan province, including American missionary couple Martin and Ggacia Burhnamn and American-Peruvian Guillermo Sobero.

From the resort, the Abu Sayyaf members took their hostages to their bailiwick province in Basilan and subsequently figured in the siege of Lamitan town, where the terrorists took a few more hostages.

Sobero was beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf group weeks later. Meanwhile, Martin Burhnamn was slain while Ggacia Burhnamn was rescued in a military operation in Sibuco town in Zamboanga del Norte province a year after the kidnapping.

Abu Sayyaf, active in southern Philippines, was founded in the 1990s and has perpetrated a number of high-profile attacks, including kidnapping and bombing.

The Philippine military estimates the Abu Sayyaf, which has links with external terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda, currently has about 400 members.

Source: Xinhua


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