2 ASG bandits killed, 1 captured, 5 bancas seized in Basilan ops

MANILA-- Two Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits were killed while another was arrested during a series of focused military operations conducted in Basilan province in the past two days.

In the operations, five motorized bancas belonging to the bandits were also seized, Western Mindanao Command (WMC) spokesperson Capt. Jo-ann Petinglay said Saturday.

Shot dead in the 7:45 a.m. operation last March 23 in Barangay Lahi-Lahi, Tuburan was ASG member Bistahan K. Nisalun alias "Upang-Upang".

Petinglay said Nisalun fired at government security troops out to arrest him, triggering the confrontation that led to his death.

Nisalun has been the subject of a counter-surveillance operation and was monitored several times hunting for potential victims, along with ASG sub-leader Mike Usman Lidjal, in Zamboanga City.

At about 9 a.m. on the same day, another ASG member was arrested by troops of the 64th Infantry Battalion in a strike operation conducted at the residence of Vanessa Lajiman, barangay kagawad of Tumahubong, Sumisip, also in Basilan.

Rolly Ikih, 47, has a standing warrant of arrest for robbery and arson.

Troops were deployed to arrest the suspect after information was received claiming that four heavily armed men were seen in Lajiman's home.

Seized from Ikih was a .45-caliber pistol and six live ammunition. He will be charged with illegal possession of firearm.

Meanwhile, ongoing pursuit operations against ASG members involved in the Sibago Island piracy attack resulted in the death of a bandit identified as Jaudi Salupuddin.

The latter was severely wounded in a gun battle with troopers of the 19th Special Forces Company in Basilan.

Petinglay said Salupuddin initially escaped but was eventually turned over by the barangay official of Tuburan to the military.

He died while being transferred to a nearby medical facility. Seized from him were M-16 automatic rifles with two short magazines and a motorized banca.

Salupuddin was among the ASG bandits responsible for the piracy attack on a Panamanian-registered cargo vessel, Super Shuttle, Ro-Ro9, in Sibago island, during which the ship's tugboat Capt. Aurelio Agacac and its Chief Engineer, Laurence Tiro, both Filipinos, were forcibly taken by the bandits.

At about 4 p.m. also on March 23, a Navy patrol boat on maritime patrol off the Al-Barka coast, impounded two pump boats belonging to the bandits.

And at 8 a.m. on March 24, WMC troops also impounded two large motorized bancas in Sitio Kapago, Barangay Candiis, Tuburan.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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