Malaysian jihadist among 26 Abu Sayyaf men killed in Basilan ops — military
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The military on Sunday confirmed the death of a Malaysian jihadist in the recent Basilan encounters.
Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., spokesperson of Western Mindanao Command, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that 26 Abu Sayyaf bandits, including Malaysian jihadist Mohammad Najib Hussein alias Abu Anas, were killed in the continuing operations in Basilan.
The military operation in the village of Macalang in Al Barka town started on December 15. It already left three government soldiers– Capt. Vincent Cordero, the commanding officer of 8th Scout Ranger Company; Private First Class Marctan Tirambulo of the 1st Scout Ranger Company; and Staff Sergeant Jesus Tuting of the Marines Special Operations Group, dead.
At least 26 others soldiers, including two junior officers, were wounded in the fighting.
Tan said different sources claimed that 26 bandits were killed and 16 others were wounded in the clashes.
Col. Rolando Bautista, commander of 104th Army Brigade, told the Inquirer that the death of Hussein was confirmed by different sources.
“Despite these reports, we continue to make validation so we can recover the body as proof,” Bautista said.
Hussein was a 38-year-old Malaysian shopkeeper-turned-bomb-maker associated with the Islamic State (IS). He is known as the key figure in the IS’ Black Flag cell of Universiti Malaya professor, Dr. Mahmud Ahmad, alias Abu Handzalah, who has been hiding with the Abu Sayyaf in southern Philippines.
Hussein reportedly owned a photo and stationary shop in Universiti Malaya, Petaling Jaya, but in July last year, fled Malaysia with Mahmud and several other IS terror suspects to Southern Philippines. SFM