Suspected Abu Sayyaf leader, soldier slain in Sulu shootout

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanews/23 November) – A suspected commander of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) with P5.3 million cash reward for his capture and a soldier were killed while another was wounded in a shootout Saturday in Parang, Sulu.

Col. Alan Arrojado, commander of the Joint Task Group Sulu, identified the slain suspect as Sihata Muallom Asmad alias Sihata Latip, Kah Tatang and Tatang.

Government had offered P5.3 million reward for anyone who could provide information leading to the arrest of Asmad, he said,.

Arrojado did not identify the slain and wounded soldiers except to say they belong to the Army’s Scout Ranger Battalion.

He  said Asmad was killed in a shootout around 4:45 p.m. Saturday in Barangay Duyan Kaha, Parang town.

Arrojado said the shootout happened when Asmad resisted and opened fire upon noticing the presence of soldiers and policemen who were about to serve him a warrant of arrest.

Asmad is facing charges of kidnapping and serious illegal detention for his alleged involvement in the 2001 kidnapping of 15 workers at Golden Harvest Plantation Barangay Tairan, Lantawan, Basilan and in the 2002 kidnapping of six members of Jehovah’s witness in Patikul, Sulu, Arrojado said.

Asmad was also implicated in the kidnapping of a Taiwanese couple in November 2013 in Sabah as well as of the German couple in April this year in Palawan, he added.

The ASG killed the Taiwanese businessman and released the wife a month later after while the German couple was released last October following alleged payment of hefty ransom. (MindaNews)