Philippines: Militant chief involved in beheadings is killed

Cheryl Sanders
April 13, 2017

Baker, kidnapped while on assignment in Jolo on June 12, 2012 and held hostage for 18 months, said Abu Rami shuffled between the Moro National Islamic Front (MNLF) faction led by his uncle Qaed in Indanaan, Jolo island, and the Abu Sayyaf supreme leader (Emir) Radulan Sahiron, who is also known as the one-armed commander.

Ano described the death of Abu Rami as "a very big accomplishment and a big blow against the Abu Sayyaf".

In a hindered attempt to kidnap tourists during Holy Week in the Philippines, Ano said Rami wanted his name recognized.

The Abu Sayyaf's foray into Bohol suggests that navy patrols in waters separating Sulu and Sabah are forcing the group to venture deep into the heartland of central Philippines, where millions of tourists flock to for beach and diving vacations.

Although Abu Sayyaf have been weakened by years of battle setbacks, they beheaded two Canadians last year and a German hostage earlier this year after ransom deadlines lapsed.

End of the road: Wanted militant Askali (right) was killed near this farm house in Inabanga town, Bohol province, central Philippines, after it was hit by helicopter gunships.

Canadians Robert Hall (left) and John Ridsdel (middle) and Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad appear at gunpoint in a Abu Sayyaf video appealing to the Philippines government to stop military operations.

Since the firefight in Bohol, Ano said the island was "back to normal".

Some Western nations have warned their citizens about travelling to the Philippines amid reported threats of terrorism and kidnappings. "They are all running for their lives".

The German, Mr Jurgen Kantner, 70, a sailing enthusiast who survived after being held for almost two months by Somali pirates eight years ago, was beheaded in February, after talks for his release in exchange for a 30-million-peso (S$851,000) ransom collapsed.

It is learnt that he and his gang were planning attacks or raids on Easter Sunday on tourist spots in Cebu when five of them were shot dead.

"We salute their gallantry as we also assure their families that they will be provided all the necessary assistance from the government", he added.

As the government moved to contain the fallout on the lucrative tourism industry, the military said it would repel similar incursions.

Residents and holidaymakers have been forced to flee to safety. Hoteliers and visitors told AFP the incident has not affected tourist traffic on the island as yet, though there was increased police security. Askali, who used the nom de guerre Abu Rami, had partly served as an Abu Sayyaf spokesman in recent years.

Its boat-riding gunmen have been boarding commercial and fishing vessels and abducting dozens of foreign crew members.

Abu Sayyaf has carried out scores of other kidnappings over the years, including seizing 20 people from a resort in Palawan province in 2001.

Other reports by iNewsToday