KOTA KINABALU: One of Malaysia's most-wanted terrorists, Abu Sayyaf leader Al Habsi Misaya, is believed to have been killed in a gun battle with Philippines security forces.
Al Habsi (pic), who is wanted for numerous high-profile kidnappings in Sabah's east coast, was apparently killed in the Indanan area of Jolo.
Philippines military sources said that the gun battle took place at around 9.35pm on Friday when Philippines security forces were tracking down Abu Sayyaf gunmen on the island.
Al Habsi was among the four top Abu Sayyaf commanders able to order major kidnappings on the Sabah and southern Philippines sea border.
Still on the run are Al Habsi's comrade Sarip Mura, together with the ageing Radulan Sahiron and Hatib Sawadjaan.
The reports of Al Habsi's death comes about two weeks after his close ally Maummar Askali @ Abu Rami was killed in central Philippines while planning a major kidnap of tourists in Bogol Island.
Other commanders like Idang Susukan and Apo Mike are believed to have been killed or seriously injured in gun battles in Jolo island earlier last month.
Intelligence sources had previously told The Star that Al Habsi, a syabu addict in his 30s, had managed to elude bombardment by the Philippines military and dragnets on Jolo island over the last few months.
He was believed to have gone into hiding in Zamboanga City in southern Philippines while fleeing the military offensive.
Al Habsi is believed to have financed previous cross-border kidnappings in Sabah by providing fuel money, boats and firearms.