KOTA KINABALU: Security forces in the Philippines have killed Abu Sayyaf sub-commander Injam Yadah who was widely linked to involvement in cross-border kidnappings in Sabah.
Also killed in the shootout at 2am yesterday was Al-al Sawadjaan, the younger brother of the Abu Sayyaf sub-commander Mundi Sawadjaan, who was behind the Jolo Cathedral bombings two years ago.
The two were among four gunned down by the Philippines military as they continue to go after Abu Sayyaf leaders and their foot soldiers, many of whom were directly and indirectly linked to the notorious Sawadjaan family, known to be holding kidnap victims at their Patikul base in Jolo island.
With the noose tightening on the group, intelligence sources said their numbers had been dwindling with fewer than 50 active members as many had either been killed or fled since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s orders for an all out war against the Abu Sayyaf group.
According to the Philippines military, the other two who were killed had yet to be identified.
Philippines Joint Task Force for Sulu Major-Gen William N. Gonzales said they had gone into the area to serve a warrant to Yadah at his house but was met with resistance and that shots were fired at them.
They also recovered a M653 carbine rifle, calibre.45 pistol, improvised explosive device components and 15 mobile phones.
Yadah and Al-al Sawadjaan were killed on the spot.
Yadah, who has been involved in a few beheading incidents, has long been hunted by the Philippines military. He was among a key player, who held five Indonesian nationals taken from Malaysian waters, in January last year.
The kidnapped victims were rescued in Tawi-Tawi earlier this year.
The Philippines military said Al-al Sawadjaan was known to have some knowledge in making bombs.