Army chief: Militant chief possible killed in Philippines

Manila, August 25

Abu Sayyaf militants could have staged suicide bombings that killed 14 folks to avenge the loss of life of a Filipino chief of the Islamic State group within the southern Philippines following a conflict with troops final month, the military chief mentioned Tuesday.

Army commanding normal Cirilito Sobejana mentioned Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan was wounded in a July 6 gun battle in a jungle close to Patikul city in Sulu province and almost certainly died a number of days later.

Troops have been looking for his buried stays, he mentioned.

Two Islamic militants blew themselves up in suicide assaults Monday that killed at the least 14 folks, together with troopers, and injured 75 others in Jolo city in Sulu, within the nation’s worst extremist assault this 12 months.

Military officers accused Sawadjaan’s nephew, Mudzrimar “Mundi” Sawadjaan, of plotting the noon bombings.

“They wanted to avenge his death,” Sobejana advised The Associated Press. “It’s also a very desperate move because they have lost strength and wanted to create an impression that they still exist.”

Sobejana mentioned he’s “90% sure that Sawadjaan is gone. We’re reserving the 10% until we find his body as concrete evidence.”

Recently captured Abu Sayyaf militants supplied details about his loss of life, together with how he was wounded and ultimately died and was buried by a bunch of militants. His followers have launched an effort to choose a substitute, Sobejana mentioned.

An earlier US Department of Defense report back to Congress mentioned with out elaborating that it believed Sawadjaan was the “acting emir,” or chief, within the Philippines of the Islamic State group.

Most of the victims of Monday’s bombings, together with kids, have been caught within the first blast, close to two parked military vans in entrance of a grocery retailer and pc store in a downtown plaza the place the city cathedral is situated, army officers mentioned.

In the second blast, the attacker blew herself up close to a bunch of troopers and police, killing one soldier and one police commando and wounding a number of others, a army report mentioned.

The army is attempting to find out if the 2 suicide bombers have been the widows of Abu Sayyaf militants.

The largely Roman Catholic nation’s southern area has been the scene of a long time of Muslim separatist unrest. The Abu Sayyaf, a small however violent group, has been listed by the United States and the Philippines as a terrorist organisation for bombings, ransom kidnappings and beheadings.

Just a few of its armed factions, together with the most important one led by the Sawadjaans, are aligned with the Islamic State group.

The twin bombings have been the newest suicide assaults within the predominantly Muslim province of Jolo, together with a lethal January 2019 bombing of a Roman Catholic cathedral believed to have been carried out by an Indonesian couple.

Largely confined to Jolo’s poverty-wracked mountain settlements all his life, Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan was born to a peasant household in Jolo and sure solely completed grade faculty.

Poverty drove him to work as a lumberjack within the jungles off Patikul city, the place he married a girl from Tanum, the mountain village the place he would base his Abu Sayyaf faction years later, in response to a army officer who has carefully monitored the Abu Sayyaf and spoke on situation of anonymity due to the character of his work. AP

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