AFP still validating reports that Malaysian bomber was killed in Basilan ops vs Abu Sayyaf
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — The military here on Wednesday said it was still validating the reported killing of a Malaysian bomb-maker during the series of clashes in Basilan that started Sunday.
Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), admitted having received a similar report but was cautious as “Filipinos and Malaysians have the same features.”
“Unless we have the body and enough evidence in order for us to make any conclusion” he said.
The alleged killing of the Malaysian bomb-maker was reported by the Malaysian news outfit The Star on its website. It identified the suspect as Mohd Najib Hussein, 38, alias Abu Anas.
The report said a “Malaysian shopkeeper-turned-bomb-maker associated with the Islamic State (IS) is suspected to be among 13 Abu Sayyaf gunmen killed in a clash with the Philippine military on Basilan island.”
Armed Forces Chief of Staff Hernando Iriberri refused to confirm the number of Abu Sayyaf casualties in the clashes.
He even declined to confirm reports that foreign terrorists were involved in the encounters.
At least three soldiers – including an officer with a rank of captain, were killed in the clashes that took place in Albarka town.
Iriberri visited the wounded troops on Wednesday and pinned medals on them. He also gave them some cash.
Iriberri said he was saddened over the deaths of the three soldiers, whom he did not name.
“As the father of the AFP, it’s painful to lose a child but this is part of our role. This is part of our oath,” he said. SFM
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.