ZAMBOANGA CITY (PNA) – Two convicted Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits, who were among the eight detainees who bolted from the Basilan provincial jail on October 13, were killed in a clash as pursuit operations continued to recapture the escapees.
In a statement, the military’s Fourth Special Forces Battalion (4SF Bn) identified the two slain ASG bandits as Nurhasan Lahaman, 36, and Battuh Kusain Murah, 22, both ASG bomb makers and convicted for murder and multiple murder, respectively.
The two were killed in a “decisive armed engagement” shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday in the vicinity of Rubberland Resort, Barangay Cabunbata, Isabela City, the capital of Basilan province.
The firefight ensued when the troops of the 4SF Bn checked the reported presence of two suspicious and unidentified men lurking around several meters away from the Special Forces camp in Barangay Cabunbata.
The troops recovered from the slain suspects an M653 rifle with one short magazine, and a .45-caliber pistol with one magazine and several rounds of live ammunition.
The rifle and pistol were among the firearms the escapees grabbed from Jail Officer 3 Asbi Salih, who was killed in the October 13 jailbreak, at the Basilan provincial jail.
The 4SF Bn said the two were involved in the July 30, 2018 bombing of Magkawit detachment that killed 10 people, five of them were militiamen, in the boundaries of Barangays Bulanting, Colonia, and Maganda, Lamitan City, Basilan.
Four victims, all relatives of the militiamen, and a soldier were also among the dead.
The remains of the two slain escapees were turned over to the Isabela City Police Station for proper disposition.
The death of the two ASG bandits has brought down to four escapees who remain at large, as one of the eight were killed several minutes after they bolted from jail, while one was recaptured on Oct. 15.
Pursuit operations continue to recapture the four remaining escapees, who are identified as Gappal Saripada, 35; Hernie Asao, 32; Albaser Ahmad, 19; and, Kiliji Hajirul, 31.