The Philippines said Tuesday that its military had dealt Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) militants “a major blow” by killing two brothers linked with the group, who allegedly helped kidnap more than two dozen sailors at sea, including Malaysians and Indonesians.
Nixon Muktadil, who heads the Muktadil gang that is affiliated with ASG, and his brother Brown were killed Tuesday as part of a campaign by Philippine security forces to free all kidnap victims being held by Abu Sayyaf and other armed militant groups in the southern Philippines, Philippine officials said. Hostages still in custody include five Malaysians and five Indonesians.
Western Mindanao Command spokesman Maj. Filemon Tan said troops from the Joint Task Force Sulu, assisted by volunteers from Panglima Estino town, engaged in a shootout with the siblings on Tambulian Island, according to a news release from the Philippine embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
“The fall of the Muktadil brothers is a major blow to the ASG as the siblings served as sea guides and navigators during the group’s conduct of kidnapping[s] in the high seas,” the statement quoted Tan as saying.
Nixon and Brown took part in kidnappings of 26 Filipinos, Malaysians and Indonesians, the spokesman said. Another brother, Mindas, was killed in a shootout with law enforcement officials in Jolo, Sulu province, in May 2015. Another brother, Khadafy Muktadil, was arrested in November.
Also on Tuesday, the Philippine National Police announced that it broke up a gun-running syndicate supplying high-powered guns and ammunition to ASG, and seized a cache of grenade launchers, military rifles and thousands of rounds of ammunition, valued at 6 million pesos (U.S. $124,000), the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported. The syndicate’s leader, Unding Kenneth Isa, and three accomplices were arrested Saturday in Metro Manila.
Full story: BenarNews
Hata Wahiri and Fahirul N. Ramli
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