Manila, Philippines (AP) —Philippines troops killed a suspected suicide bomber in Egypt and two local Abu Sayyaf militants. ..
Army shot down three militants in a 10-minute shootout near a hinterland village away from Patikul in the mountainous region of southern Sulu on Friday night. Colonel Benjamin Batara Jr., commander of the Army Brigade, said they also recovered three assault rifles and ammunition bandoliers.
Military officials did not show how the three were tracked, but military chief Gen. Cirilito Sobejana suggested that the military was helped by information provided by the villagers. “People’s support in our peace and security efforts is in great need,” Sobejana told The Associated Press.
The Egyptian, identified only by the military as Yusop, was the son of Egyptian militant City Aisha. She died when she detonated the bomb and was shot by the army two years ago at the gate of a military detachment in the town of Indanan, Sulu. .. According to the military, his Egyptian stepfather was also killed in a gun battle with the military at a military checkpoint in Indanan in 2019.
“This is one less suicide bomber,” said Maj. Gen. William Gonzalez of the Army. “Without them, the chances of another attack are lower.”
Gonzales said without elaborating that the killing of the Egyptians would cut off foreign financial support to Abu Sayyaf. Small but violent groups have long been blacklisted by the United States and the Philippines for kidnapping for ransom, opening hostages, and deadly bombing attacks.
In addition to Yusop, the military also killed Abu Khattab Jundullah, a suspected bomb maker, and another unidentified militant.
They belonged to the Abu Sayyaf faction led by Mudzrimar Sawadjaan, who was accused of a series of suicide attacks in January 2019, including a bombing by an Indonesian radical couple in the Roman Cathedral in the town of Holo in Sulu. According to Batara, there are 100 others.
Gonzales said the military was hunting down the rest of the militants, and optimistic that Sawajan, one of the most desired commanders of Abu Sayyaf, “will soon reach his end.”
Abu Sayyaf, one of the few violent militant groups working with Islamic State groups, has been significantly weakened by combat retreat, surrender and factionism, but remains a national security threat.