Elite Army troopers killed an alleged Egyptian suicide bomber and two suspected Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) militants linked to some of the most vicious and deadly attacks in Western Mindanao a fierce gun battle in Patikul, Sulu on Friday night, April 16.
Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom), identified the slain suspects as alias Yusop, one of the five remaining foreign terrorists in Mindanao; Abu Khattab Jundullah alias “Saddam;” and alias “Akram.”
According to Vinluan, troops from the military’s elite counter-terrorism unit 4th Light Reaction Company, were conducting focused military operations in Barangay Igasan when they encountered an ASG group under sub-leader and known bomb expert Mudzrimar “Mundi” Sawadjaan around 10:45 p.m.
Sawadjaan’s unit is tagged behind the twin suicide bombings in Jolo, Sulu on August 24, 2020 that killed 15 people; and the Mt. Carmel Cathedral twin bombings on Jan. 27, 2019 where 18 people died.
An intense firefight ensued which lasted for only about ten minutes, Vinluan said, until the enemies were forced to retreat.
The troops scoured the encounter site when they discovered the bodies of the three suspected terrorists, he noted.
Citing intelligence reports, Vinluan said Yusop was the stepson of deceased Egyptian terrorists “Abduramil” and Reda Mohammad Mahmud alias “Sitti Aiza.”
The WestMinCom commander said Abduramil was killed by the military in a clash in Indanan, Sulu on November 5, 2019 while Reda died after she blew herself up in an apparent suicide bomb attack at the KM3 detachment unit of the military also in Indanan town on September 8, 2019.
Meanwhile, Vinluan said Jundullah was a trained bomb-maker and the brother of the late Daulah Islamiyah and Abu Sayyaf Group member Midi Alih, who was killed in a recent clash in Sulare Island while Akram was one of the “trusted” followers of Mundi Sawadjaan.
Aside from these, troops also recovered on the encounter site an M653 Carbine rifle, an M203 grenade launcher, and one R4 Vektor rifle, various ammunition, two bandoliers, and other personal belongings of the slain enemies.
Major Gen. William Gonzales, commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu, said reinforcements were sent in the area to locate the escaped terrorists.
“We are utilizing all our air, naval, and ground assets to conduct all-out offensives against the remaining foreign terrorists and Abu Sayyaf Group members in our area of operation,” he said.
The bodies of Yusop, Jundullah, and Akram were transported to Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista in Barangay Busbus in Jolo.
From January 2021 to date, the Joint Task Force Sulu has neutralized a total of 70 ASG members; seven of which were apprehended, 60 surrendered, and three were killed, according to military records.
“I commend the troops of the Joint Task Force Sulu under Maj. Gen. Gonzales for your laudable operational accomplishments. These successes are [attributed] to the intensified conduct of intelligence operations, the quick action of our ground troops, and the cooperation of the local government and the people,” said Vinluan.