Government forces in hot pursuit of Abu Sayyaf top leader: 38 terrorists killed

Government forces in Sulu are in hot pursuit of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group led by Radullan Sahiron, who was sighted fleeing near a mosque in Sitio, Dundangan, Barangay Kabbon Takas in Patikul, Sulu on Sunday. Brig. Gen. Alan Arrojado, commander of Joint Task Force Sulu (JTFS), said there will be no letup in the intensified military operation until Sahiron is neutralized.

Abu Sayyaf terrorists in Sulu have been on the run since last week after suffering heavy casualties of 38 dead and over 31 wounded in a series of clashes with army and marine troopers the past week. Government forces suffered 10 army and seven marines wounded in action, Arrojado said.

“The relentless combat operations launched by JTFS troops is badly hurting the Abu Sayyaf,” Arrojado said, adding that the heavy casualties suffered by the terrorist group was confirmed after the wives of five wounded Abu Sayyaf members were monitored buying medicines in various pharmacies in Jolo on Saturday.

Government forces are supported by 105mm artillery bombardment. Howitzers are only fired after a forward observer gives the accurate coordinate on the exact location of the Abu Sayyaf group.

Sahiron figured in the Dos Palmas kidnapping of 21 tourists, including three Americans, in Palawan in 2001.Among those killed were Martin Burnham, wife of Gracia Burnham, and Guillermo Sobero, who was beheaded.

The one-armed Abu Sayyaf leader is responsible for many atrocities in Sulu for over a decade. His right arm was cut off during a battle against government forces in Mindanao during the 1970s.