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Southeast Asia
Abu Sayyaf hostages recount their ordeal
2019-11-30
[AFP] A British man and his wife rescued this week from militant captors in the southern Philippines say they were chained and threatened with decapitation if they didn’t deliver a ransom. The couple, shaken but unharmed, told of their nearly two-month ordeal to reporters after escaping during a gun battle on Monday between Philippine troops and the Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf.

Armed men abducted the couple on October 4 at the beach resort they run on the southern island of Mindanao. They were taken to Jolo island, a well-known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf, which has carried out some of the Philippines’ worst terrorist attacks.

The husband, Alan Hyrons, painted a “very humiliating and degrading” life in captivity, with little to eat in a haze of constant fear. His wife Wilma said, "They chained our legs... It was very difficult, but we endured because we believe in God. One of them treated us well, but then he told me he would be the one assigned to cut off my head if the money does not arrive on time."

She said the men pointed guns at her face, ordering her to call her brother so he would sell all their assets to raise their ransom, which the couple did not state.

Their chance for escape came after several days of clashes between the military and the kidnappers, which saw at least five of the gunmen killed.

“It’s something you see on films and you take it to be a film. But in real life it’s terrifying,” Alan said, describing the final gun battle.

“There were only 10 of them when we escaped ... It was the commander who got hit first so I told Alan, let us run. We should not wait here to be killed."
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Southeast Asia
Philippine troops rescue couple kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf
2019-11-25
[Aljazeera] British man and his Filipino wife were rescued unharmed after 10-minute gun battle with members of armed group.

Philippine troops on Monday rescued a British man and his Filipino wife who were abducted from a southern beach resort last month by gunmen linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) and taken to their jungle hideouts.

Regional military commander Lt Gen Cirilito Sobejana said troops caught up with the Abu Sayyaf captors of Allan Hyrons and his wife, Wilma, in the mountainous hinterlands of Parang town in Sulu province and rescued the couple after a fight.

"There was a running gun battle," Sobejana said. "They left the two behind because they could not drag them any more. They scampered in different directions but our troops are in pursuit."

The Hyrons were not hurt in the 10-minute exchange of fire, the military said, adding that no ransom had been paid to the group.
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Southeast Asia
Philippine army says it has killed militant behind suicide attacks
2019-11-24
[ENGLISH.ALARABIYA.NET] Philippine soldiers have killed a krazed killer who had helped a local group linked to ISIS to stage suicide kabooms in the southern province of Sulu, the military said on Saturday.

The body of Talha Jumsah, also known as Abu Talha, was recovered after a clash with Filipino troops on Friday morning in the town of Patikul, military officials said.

They said Abu Talha had been trained in bomb-making by ISIS and had instructed the krazed killer Abu Sayyaf
...also known as al-Harakat al-Islamiyya, an Islamist terror group based in Jolo, Basilan and Zamboanga. Since its inception in the early 1990s, the group has carried out bombings, kidnappings, murders, head choppings, and extortion in their uniquely Islamic attempt to set up an independent Moslem province in the Philippines. Abu Sayyaf forces probably number less than 300 cadres. The group is closely allied with remnants of Indonesia's Jemaah Islamiya and has loose ties with MILF and MNLF who sometimes provide cannon fodder...
Group (ASG) in setting up suicide kabooms. He had also served as "finance conduit and liaison" between foreign and local krazed killers.

"The death of Abu Talha will surely cause demoralisation in the ASG ranks in Sulu," said Army Brigadier General Antonio Nafarrete.

Major General Corleto Vinluan Jr, the commander of military forces in Sulu, urged remaining ASG members to "surrender and live a normal life instead of being hunted down as fleeing criminals".

Early this month, the army said soldiers had foiled what they called an attempted suicide kaboom in an urban area in Jolo municipality in Sulu, the latest in a series of attacks blamed on Abu Sayyaf.

There have been four suicide kabooms in Sulu, Abu Sayyaf's stronghold, in the past 16 months, despite intensified army operations and a vow by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to wipe the group out.

The twin bombing of a church in January killed 21 people, a van bomb at a checkpoint in July 2018 killed 11, a suicide attack by two youths killed eight in June, and in September a woman carrying a bomb near an army detachment detonated it prematurely.

The attackers included Indonesians, a Moroccan and Filipinos.

Related:
Sulu: 2019-11-18 Eight soldiers injured in clash with Abus in Sulu
Sulu: 2019-11-15 Egyptian suicide bomber (in Sulu) previously attacked churches in Egypt.
Sulu: 2019-11-11 8 killed in car bomb attack in northeast Syria
Related:
ISIS: 2019-11-22 With Daesh Gone, Taliban Once Again Tops List of Deadliest Terrorist Groups
ISIS: 2019-11-22 Tehran’s control over Iraqi leaders — the smoking gun
ISIS: 2019-11-22 Special Forces kill, detain 13 Taliban and ISIS militants in 4 provinces
Related:
Abu Sayyaf: 2019-11-18 Eight soldiers injured in clash with Abus in Sulu
Abu Sayyaf: 2019-11-15 Egyptian suicide bomber (in Sulu) previously attacked churches in Egypt.
Abu Sayyaf: 2019-11-06 Three suspected Abu Sayyaf bombers killed before suicide mission
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Southeast Asia
Abus demand P30 million ransom for Indonesian hostages
2019-11-23
[PhilStar] Suspected Abu Sayyaf militants have reportedly demanded more than P30 million in exchange for the release of three Indonesian fishermen seized in the waters off Sabah last September. The military said it received the information from villagers shortly after a video posted on Facebook showed the captives appealing to their employer and the Indonesian government to heed the demand of the kidnappers.

A Malaysian newspaper report said that before the posting of the video, the kidnappers contacted a family member of one of the hostages and demanded ransom.

Western Mindanao Command spokesman Arvin John Encinas said ground forces and intelligence units have yet to confirm reports that Abu Sayyaf rebels were behind the kidnapping.

Maharudin Lunani, his son Muhammad Farhan, and Samiun Maneu were in a fishing trawler when they were captured off the coast of Tambisan. The victims were reportedly brought by their captors to Sulu. Malaysian authorities have said that lawless groups behind recent kidnappings of fishermen and crewmembers of foreign fishing boats off the coast of Sabah could have ties with the Abu Sayyaf.

Aside from search and rescue operations for the Indonesian fishermen, the military is also looking for a couple snatched from a resort in Tukuran, Zamboanga del Sur last month.
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Southeast Asia
Eight soldiers injured in clash with Abus in Sulu
2019-11-18
[SunStar] Eight Philippine soldiers were injured as the troops clashed anew with Abu Sayyaf militants on Wednesday while military operations against the rebels continue in the province of Sulu.

Western Mindanao Command chief Cirilito Sobejana said the battle broke out when the soldiers spotted some 40 Abu Sayyaf rebels while on security operation on Wednesday in Buhanginan Village, Patikul. He said the firefight lasted for about 40 minutes, after which the militants, followers of Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan and Radullan Sahiron, fled dragging along their casualties.

The military are continuously conducting focused military operations in a bid to rescue a number of hostages, including foreigners, from the hands of the Abu Sayyaf bandits in Sulu, Sobejana said.
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Southeast Asia
Egyptian suicide bomber (in Sulu) previously attacked churches in Egypt.
2019-11-15
[Twitter]

“She together with Abduracman and her son Abduramil traveled to Mindanao via backdoor channel to seek refuge with the ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group) in Sulu with the help of ISIS connections in Southeast Asia,” Sulu police director PCol Pablo Labra said.

The Task Force added “Abduramil”—the young suicide bomber—was not related to the other adult foreign national (Abduracman) killed in the November 5 operation.

Abduramil and Abduracman, together with another unidentified suspect, were killed in a shootout earlier this month after the military received reports that they had planned to attack Jolo. Their nationalities were not revealed.
Related:
Lamitan: 2019-08-07 Three Abu Sayyaf rebels gunned down in Basilan
Lamitan: 2019-07-29 Abu Sayyaf bomber arrested in Sibugay
Lamitan: 2019-07-22 Two Abus, one NPA nabbed in separate operations
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Southeast Asia
Three suspected Abu Sayyaf bombers killed before suicide mission
2019-11-06
[Inquirer] Three suspected Abu Sayyaf suicide bombers were killed in a clash with Philippine security forces in Indanan, Sulu on Tuesday afternoon. The suspects were about to carry out a suicide bombing mission, when they were flagged down by soldiers at a checkpoint at Barangay Kan Islam in Indanan town, military spokesman Cirilito Sobejana said in a statement.

The three suspects fired at the soldiers and a firefight lasted for five minutes. Two of the suspects were Egyptians — identified only as Abduramil and Abdurahman. The Egyptians were believed to be a father and son. One was Filipino, Sobejana said.

Sobejana said they are trying to confirm information that the two suspects were related to the female suicide bomber who attacked a military outpost, also in Sulu, in September.

In a security briefing also on Tuesday, AFP deputy chief of staff for intelligence Maj. Gen. Reuben Basiao said they had identified seven foreign terrorists in Mindanao, while 60 others remain on their watchlist.

“Foreign terrorist fighters are consistently monitored in Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and Sulu, planning to conduct suicide bombings as well as to provide funds and training,” he said.
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Southeast Asia
Seven Philippine soldiers wounded in clash with Abu Sayyaf
2019-11-03
[Sunstar] Seven Philippine rangers were injured in encounters with Abu Sayyaf militants in Patikul, Sulu on Wednesday.

Western Mindanao Command spokesman John Encinas said five rangers were injured in gun battles with around 30 followers of Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan in Sitio Kan Mindang, Barangay Pangdanon. Encinas said five improvised explosive devices, a detonating cord, medical and food supplies and 15 kilos of rice were among those recovered from an Abu Sayyaf camp seized by government troopers.

“The lair and the withdrawal route of the enemy, which were marked with heavy bloodstains, indicated that the Abu Sayyaf suffered an undetermined number of casualties,” he said.

Encinas said two soldiers were injured in pursuit operations in Sitio Kanlimbungan, Barangay Tanum.
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Southeast Asia
Three Abus rounded up in Luzon
2019-10-17
[CNN Philippines] Three suspected Abu Sayyaf Group militants were nabbed by authorities in a series of operations that lasted for three weeks.

According to the National Bureau of Investigation- Counter Terrorism Division (NBI-CTD), separate operations took place in Maharlika Village Taguig, Baseco Compound in Tondo, Manila and Kawit, Cavite which led to the capture of Ibnus Isa, Amerudin Parasan, and Abdel-Amin Bandahala who have been under surveillance for five to six months. All of the suspects have standing arrest warrants for multiple counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention for a series of kidnappings carried out in Basilan and Sulu from 2001 to 2002.

NBI-CTD chief Raoul Manguerra said the suspects communicated visa social media, which was how authorities were able to track them down.
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Southeast Asia
Abu bomb plot foiled in Basilan
2019-10-17
[PhilStar] Philippine security forces have foiled an attempt by Abu Sayyaf militants to bomb several areas in Basilan.

Western Mindanao Command spokesman Arvin Encinas said six improvised explosive devices were recovered from around 20 rebels that troops encountered in Barangay Calang Canas, Maluso at around 2 a.m. yesterday. There were no reported casualties on the side of the government.

“The troops clashed with the bandits while conducting security patrol amid reports that the group of Furuji Indama would launch bomb attacks,” Encinas said. Indama is an associate of Islamic State for Southeast Asia emir Isnilon Hapilon, who was killed along with the Maute brothers at the height of the fighting in Marawi in 2017.

Military informants said the militants intended to detonate the IEDs in populated areas.
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Southeast Asia
Abu Sayyaf militant nabbed in Quezon City
2019-10-08
[Inquirer] An alleged Abu Sayyaf sub-leader was arrested in Quezon City in a joint police and military operation last week.

Police spokesman Ronnie Montejo reported that Ibrahim Lambog Mullo, 26, was arrested in Batasan Hills, Quezon City on the evening of September 27. Montejo said Mullo was among the three militants of the terror group under police surveillance in Metro Manila. The two others were arrested in July, he said.

Mullo, who was presented by National Capital Region Police chief Guillermo Eleazar to the media, denied that he was a sub-leader of the terror group and claimed that he was in Metro Manila to live a normal life away from the Abu Sayyaf. He claimed that he had just moved to Quezon City to attend to his wife who recently gave birth.

He claims to be now working in a housing project for the Army Scout Rangers in Kamias and Calumpang, Bulacan which is a project of a construction owned by his wife’s uncle.

Police said Mullo was recruited by the Ajang-Ajang sub-group initially through social media by Abu Sayyaf sub-leader alias Pading [sic] in 2017 while he was in Zamboanga City and has joined Abu Sayyaf operations in Patikul, Sulu.
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Southeast Asia
Four Abu Sayyaf rebels rounded up in Zamboanga City
2019-09-29
[BenarNews] Four Abu Sayyaf militants were arrested Thursday in connection with a series of attacks in the southern Philippines, as authorities charged six other suspected rebels, including a Swedish national, for alleged terrorism-related offenses after catching them in the region earlier this week.

The four suspects apprehended in Zamboanga City were identified as Aljiver Habibula, Omar Julaspih, Rody Marail, and Nash Amik. “They are members of the Abu Sayyaf Group Urban Terrorist Group operating in Sulu, Basilan and Zamboanga City,”, said Col. Thomas Joseph Martir, the local police commander.

While carrying out the arrests police recovered bomb-making components, communication devices, electronic parts and ammonium nitrate.

Three days before Thursday’s arrests, police and military elements caught Swedish man Hassan Akgun and five Filipinos during a raid in General Santos, another city in the Philippine south.

Charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives were filed against Akgun, although authorities had not yet established a link between the Abu Sayyaf and his group of suspected militants. Philippine National Police spokesman Brig. General Bernard Banac said, “He is really working with international terror groups. As to what really is his task, it is still under validation."

It is believed that Agkun was working with a group linked to IS, but it is too early to say whether he had any links with the new IS leader, Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, said Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Western Mindanao Command.
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