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Monday, 09 November 2015 11:17

A notorious Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) leader and one of his followers were killed while three government troopers were wounded in an encounter at Lower Sinangkapan, Tuburan, Basilan early Sunday morning.

Capt. Sally Magno, Joint Task Group Basilan spokesperson, said the clash took place at 4 a.m. between ASG gunmen headed by Abdulhasan Yusop Sanajalun, alias “Bullet,” and JTGB and Lamitan City Police operatives.

The encounter stemmed from efforts to serve arrest warrants against Sanajalun in Campo Dos, Colonia, Lamitan City.

Magno said the joint military-police team was fired upon by undetermined gunmen.

“Immediately, the organized inter-agency task group conducted pursuit operation with the support of the local government unit (LGU) of Tuburan to track down the perpetrators until they were pinned down in Lower Sinangkapan, Tuburan, Basilan,” she added.

The gun battle lasted for 30 minutes and resulted in the death of Sanajalun and a follower identified as Halid Calbie.

Recovered from the encounter site were an M-653 Armalite rifle, a .45 caliber pistol, several improvised explosive devices (IEDs), hand grenades, air gun, magazines with live ammunition, cellphones and personal belongings.

Magno said three soldiers were wounded in the firefight.

Sanajalun, also known as Rhey Cuebas Santos, Arjan Y. Sapii, Abdulhasaan Tannajul and Bullet, had existing warrants of arrest for the cases of kidnapping and serious illegal detention with ransom issued by the Regional Trial Court Branch 16, Zamboanga City.

The military said the slain ASG leader, a well-known ASG bandit and leader of an affiliate terrorist group known as “Anak Yatim”(Orphans of ASG Martyrs), was involved in the series of killings of military and police personnel, retailers and foreign nationals.

His group is also engaged in extortion with intimidation of IED bombing and the kidnapping of three employees of a construction firm in Barangay Cadayan, Akbar town, sometime in January of this year.