FILIPINO troops battling militants in a central province have killed a key Abu Sayyaf commander who had been blamed for the beheadings of two Canadians and a German hostage and was apparently attempting another kidnapping mission.
Military chief of staff General Eduardo Ano said troops had recovered and identified the remains of Moammar Askali, who used the nom de guerre Abu Rami, at the scene of the battle in a far-flung coastal village on Bohol island, where five other Abu Sayyaf gunmen were killed in the fighting on Tuesday, along with four soldiers and policemen.
Robert Hall, left, and John Ridsdel were beheaded by Muslims. Because Islam.
When a British-Canadian mining consultant was beheaded by an Islamist kidnap gang in the southern Philippines, the country’s leaders pledged to unleash the full might of the military to “neutralise” the Abu Sayyaf militia.
But in the weeks since, there was no sign of progress in the “relentless manhunt” for the outnumbered gunmen who murdered John Ridsdel and still hold two other Westerners.
And the kidnappers, whose leaders have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State faction, have now released a chilling new video of the captives wearing orange shirts in a jungle setting, surrounded by hooded, armed men.
A 2nd video, a plea by Canadian hostage Robert Hall was also released.
“To the Canadian government, I’m told to tell you to meet the demand,” Hall said in the video. “I don’t know what you’re doing but, you’re not doing anything for us. John is being sacrificed, his family has been decimated, and I’m not sure why or what you’re waiting for.”
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine troops battled about 100 Muslim militants Friday in fierce fighting that killed seven gunmen and a soldier and wounded a top militant commander long wanted by both the Philippines and its U.S. ally, a Filipino general said.
Another 16 soldiers and five militants were hurt in the clash that erupted when troops approached rebels from the Abu Sayyaf group in a jungle off Patikul town in predominantly Muslim Sulu province, said Brig. Gen. Allan Arrojado.
Among them was one-armed rebel commander Radulan Sahiron, who led the Abu Sayyaf faction, Arrojado said.
The U.S. government has offered $1 million for any information leading to the capture and prosecution of Sahiron, one of the original Abu Sayyaf commanders who has endured years of fighting and has been blamed for several bomb attacks and kidnappings.