Two Abu Sayyaf Group personalities were neutralized by the operating troops of the Joint Task Force Sulu at dawn on November 20, 2020, the WestMinCom Commander stated.
Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr. said that based on the report submitted by 4th Marine Brigade Commander Col. Ruben Candelario, troops of the Marine Battalion Landing Team-1 was conducting combat operation at Bud Bawis Complex, Barangay Kawasan, Panamao, Sulu when they encountered the group of ASG sub-leader Hatib Munap Binda at 5:45 a.m., Friday.
A fierce firefight ensued, which lasted for about 30 minutes, after which the enemy withdrew.
“While scouring the encounter site, marine troops recovered the dead body of ASG sub-leader Binda, one M16 rifle, and one M14 rifle,” Lt. Gen. Vinluan, Jr. said.
Meanwhile, while in pursuit of the fleeing enemies, another team of the MBLT-1 encountered the ASG group under Sansibar Bensio a few meters away from the previous encounter site at 6:45 a.m. of the same day.
MBLT-1 Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Marvin Salvan said, “The encounter lasted for about 20 minutes, which resulted in the death of a certain Bensio Barahama and the recovery of one M14 rifle.”
“Our good intelligence operations yielded to these positive results, and we are grateful that no one from our side was injured during the operations,” Lt. Col. Salvan added.
Moreover, Col. Candelario said that he directed the troops to conduct a focused military operation against the ASG to possibly neutralize sub-leaders Hatib Munap Binda and Sansibar Bensio.
“I commend our troops from the MBLT-1 and the intel units for the successful operation,” Col. Candelario said.
Further, Lt. Gen. Vinluan, Jr. said, “Based on our records, Binda is the senior leader of the ASG operating in the municipalities of Kalingalan Caluang and Panamao, Sulu. He was a member of the said terrorist organization since 2002. Further, he was an associate of the late ASG sub-leader Alhabsi Misaya during the conduct of series of kidnappings in the tri-boundaries of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Philippines.”
“Likewise, Bensio is a sub-leader of the Panamao-based ASG and is involved in numerous kidnap-for-ransom activities victimizing foreign nationals, including Lorenzo Vinciguerra (Swiss National), and Maharudin Bin Lunani and Muhammad Farhan (both Indonesian National). He was also involved in the kidnapping of our kababayans: Ronnie Sandagon, Jerel Pepito, Eddie Reubal, Marcial Espaňa, Arvin Sabanduquia, Rufino Bustilo, Joseph Bani, Hajan Terong, Joshua Bani, and Michelle Tolentino Panes,” Lt. Gen. Vinluan, Jr. added.
The WesMinCom Commander further said that ASG member Bensio Barahama who was killed in the second encounter, is the father of ASGSL Sansibar Bensio and was operating in the areas of Panamao, Omar, and Luuk, all of Sulu.
Operating troops are still in hot pursuit of the fleeing enemies.
“All the military units here in Sulu remain vigilant and resilient in eliminating the remaining terrorists who refuse to cooperate with us and continue to inflict terroristic activities in the peaceful communities,’’ said Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, JTF Sulu Commander.
“Rest assured that we will continue to work hard to end terrorism here in the beautiful island province of Sulu,” Maj. Gen. Gonzales added. — Western Mindanao Command