Army: Abu Sayyaf camp captured in Philippines south


Camp believed to belong to faction holding Canadian, Norwegian and Filipino hostages

By Hader Glang

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Government forces claim to have captured an encampment belonging to the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group in the southern Philippines after a heavy bombardment. 

In a statement emailed to Anadolu Agency, Joint Task Group Sulu commander Brig. Gen. Alan Arrojado said troops from the army’s 35th Infantry Battalion captured the lair in the autonomous archipelago province of Sulu after a ground offensive early Thursday.

“Troops fired six rounds of 81 mm mortars and six 105 mm shells on the ASG position at midnight, causing undetermined casualties on the side on the enemies,” Arrojado said.

He said that blood trails were found by troops conducting clearing operations and pursuit and clearance operations were ongoing.

He claimed that the camp belongs to group leaders Radullan Sahiron and Hatib Sawadjaan and is capable of hosting 300 men.

Sahiron and Sawadjaan are believed to be holding two Canadians, a Norwegian and a Filipino abducted Sept. 21.

Since 1991, the Abu Sayyaf — armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles — has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortions in a self-determined fight for an independent Islamic province in the Philippines.

It is notorious for beheading victims after ransoms have failed to be paid for their release.