Suspected Abu Sayyaf bandit killed in Basilan clash

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 14 July) – A suspected Abu Sayyaf bandit was killed Saturday in a clash preceded by an ambush of a rubber plantation cooperative delivery truck in Basilan, a military official disclosed Sunday.

Lt. Col. Leonardo Dacumos, commander of the Army’s 64th Infantry Battalion, said his personnel, backed by militiamen, were escorting the truck when a group of Abu Sayyaf bandits opened fire around 4:30 p.m. at Sitio Manican, Barangay Sapah Bulak, Sumisip town.

Dacumos said the truck, which belongs to the Tumahubong Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Integrated Development Cooperative (TARBIDC), was on the way back to Barangay Tumahubong in Sumisip from Isabela City when ambushed.

He said the escorting troops returned fire and engaged the bandits in a firefight that lasted for about 10 minutes that resulted to the death of a suspected Abu Sayyaf member.

Dacumos identified the fatality as Omar Akbar Suwaire. Recovered from his possession was an M-16 Armalite rifle with attached M-203 grenade launcher.

The military official said that a 30-minute firefight ensued an hour after the first clash in the same place when another group of suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits attacked the soldiers and tried to recover the remains of their slain comrade.

He said the attackers fled upon sensing the arrival of government reinforcements.

No one among the troops were either killed or injured during the two separate clashes, Dacumos said.

Suwaire’s body was turned over to Sumisip Mayor Gulam Hataman, according to Dacumos.