ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/02 May)) – Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) chief Lt. Gen. Raymundo Ferrer on Monday said he has placed his troops on alert for possible retaliatory attacks by terrorist groups in the wake of the death of Osama bin Laden.
Bin Laden’s death was announced Sunday (11:35 a.m. Monday in the Philippines) by US President Barrack Obama, who said bin Laden was killed in Abbotabad, north of Islambad.
The U.S. operation also left three other men and a woman dead, including one of bin Laden’s sons.
“While it will negatively affect the morale of his terrorist network, we cannot discount that some of his followers will plan for retaliatory actions,” Ferrer said alluding to the Abu Sayyaf.
“To this, we have alerted our units of possible repercussion of bin Laden’s death,” he added.
Since the early 1990s the military has been going after the Abu Sayyaf, a bandit group based in Basilan and alleged to have links with foreign terror organizations, although it is mainly engaged in kidnap for ransom activities.
The Abu Sayyaf are still holding captive Filipino-Chinese businessman Largio Tam Delos Santos, 59, who owns a resort and a restaurant.
The group kidnapped Delos Santos at his resort in Barangay Lanote, Isabela City, the capital of Basilan province, last December 16.
Another Filipino-Chinese businessman identified as Nelson Lim, 67, was recently kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf bandits in the province of Sulu.
Lim was on his way home when seven suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits, one of them identified as Asman Sawadjaan, seized him around 5:30 p.m. Friday in Sitio Lambayong, Barangay Bus-bus, Jolo, the capital of Sulu.
Ferrer said the offensive against the remaining leaders and members of the Abu Sayyaf will continue.
Aside from Sawadjaan, the remaining alleged Abu Sayyaf leaders are Radulan Sahiron, the oldest and dubbed as the one-armed leader and Isnilon Hapilon, who are based in Sulu, and Nurhassan Jamiri and Puruji Indaman who are based in Basilan. (MindaNews)