Wanted Abu fighter killed in Basilan

GOVERNMENT security forces clashed anew with a band of Abu Sayyaf (ASG) bandits early dawn yesterday in a remote village in Basilan province, killing one bandit in the process, police reports said

Reports identified the fatality as Abdukarim Sali, with aliases of Benjamin Sali and Ben Raffy.

The encounter reportedly took place at around 3 a.m. in Barangay Lower Mangas, Lantawan town of said province.

The reports said that combined police and military forces were conducting joint combat operations against some Abu Sayyaf elements the area when the encounter took place.

PNP spokesman Senior Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr., quoting reports, said the fire-fight between government troops and Abu Sayyaf bandits elements lasted for 10-minutes resulting to the killing of Sali.

Government troops were also able to recover from the encounter site an M-16 rifle with an M203 grenade launcher, ammunitions for M16 rifles and M203, cellphones and other personal belongings.

The PNP spokesman said that Sali is wanted for the kidnapping of Ediborah Yap, a nurse, and Sheila Tabunag along with several foreign tourists from the Dos Palmas Resort in Palawan on 2001 and the Lamitan siege.

Cruz said that slain ASG fighter also carries a P350, 000 reward offered by the Department of National Defense (DND) and Department of the nterior and Local Government (DILG) for the two incidents.

The PNP spokesman said that troops are still scouring the area in search for other ASG bandits believed to have been wounded in the firefight. Anthony Vargas

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