Philippine marines have killed an Abu Sayyaf extremist commander and a notorious kidnapper who had sailed across the sea border into Malaysia to snatch tourists and sailors for ransom, the military chief said Saturday.
Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año told The Associated Press that Alhabsy Misaya was slain in a clash with marines late Friday in the jungles between the towns of Indanan and Parang in Sulu province. He said Misaya’s body was identified by military officials and captured Abu Sayyaf militants.
Misaya has been blamed for abductions of dozens of Malaysians and Indonesian hostages, including one who was beheaded.
“We consider him the most notorious kidnapper from that bandit group and this is a big setback to the Abu Sayyaf,” Año told the AP by telephone.
Sulu-based Mindanao State University professor Octavio Dinampo confirmed the report of Misaya’s killing Friday night.
“He was shot to death by his former comrades in the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), but was turned over to the Marines for credit,” Dinampo said.
Misaya had been blamed for the abductions of dozens of Indonesian, Vietnamese and Malaysian crewmen of cargo ships and tugboats plying the busy sea border between the southern Philippines and Malaysia. He was believed to be holding several abducted Vietnamese sailors in Sulu’s jungles but the hostages were apparently not with him during the clash.
A kidnapped Malaysian man was beheaded by Misaya’s group in November 2015.
The Philippine military has been undertaking a major offensive against the Abu Sayyaf, which is notorious for bombings, ransom kidnappings and beheadings. The group is blacklisted as a terrorist organization by the United States and the Philippines.
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