The Abu Sayyaf suffered yet another loss with the killing of notorious Sulu-based bandit leader Alhabsy Misaya.
On Saturday, Armed Forces Chief Gen. Eduardo Año confirmed that Misaya, who was involved in the attacks on foreign vessels and kidnappings of foreign crewmen in the sea borders of Mindanao and Malaysia, was killed in Indanan town late Friday.
Año credited the Philippine Marines and the military’s focused operation against the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu for the death of Misaya.
Malacañang yesterday said the death of Misaya was a “big blow” to the bandit group.
But while the Abu Sayyaf member has been neutralized, presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella nevertheless called on the public to remain on alert and work with state forces in addressing the threat posed by the group.
“We call on all citizens to remain vigilant, alert and watchful in cooperating with security forces to end the menace of this bandit group as government holds them accountable for their brutal and senseless crimes,” Abella said.
“Let us cooperate to have safer and more secure communities. This is our shared responsibility,” he added.
The military confirmed Misaya’s death on Saturday, saying he was killed in a clash with Marines.
But a former Abu Sayyaf captive, who has been closely monitoring events involving the bandits, claimed that Misaya was killed by members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Indanan town.
Octavio Dinampo, a university professor, said MNLF members then turned over the slain bandit leader’s body to the Marines so government forces could take credit for the killing.
“He was shot to death by his former comrades in the MNLF, but was turned over to the Marines for credit,” Dinampo said.
But in a statement, Año maintained that soldiers killed Misaya during an operation in Indanan town.
“Troops from assigned Philippine Marine units killed the Abu Sayyaf extremist commander, who is considered to be one of the most notorious kidnappers in southern Philippines,” he said.
Misaya, native of Barangay Bunot in Indanan, was a former MNLF fighter.
Considered a bomb expert, he was tagged behind the October 2002 bombing in Barangay Malagutay here, which killed US serviceman Sergeant Mark Jackson Mark and wounded another US serviceman and 22 others.
He was also linked to the January 2009 bombing of a bridge in Indanan and the March 2011 explosion that killed four people and wounded 11 others in Jolo town.
Misaya was also involved in several kidnapping incidents the Abu Sayyaf has pulled off, including the abduction of seven Indonesian seamen off Simisa Island in Sulu on June 22, 2016.
In fact, Padilla said that Misaya faced several warrants for kidnapping and serious illegal detention.
Dinampo said Misaya used to be a bum that frequented the port area and eventually became a civilian asset for authorities.
“He was recruited as a civilian asset to penetrate the Abu Sayyaf Group. He eventually was able to join the group of the late Albader Parad,” Dinampo said.
One of the biggest kidnapping incidents that Misaya was involved in was that of the three International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) workers—Andreas Notter, Italian Eugenio Vagni and a Filipina Mary Jean Lacaba in January 2009.
“When Parad died, Alhabsi took an oath and later became a subleader, sowing further terror,” Dinampo said. Parad was killed in February 2010.
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SOURCE: YOUTUBE, INQUIRER