MANILA: A notorious sub-leader of the Abu Sayyaf group was killed after resisting arrest of the military and police in Tawi-Tawi, an island province in northern Philippines on Tuesday, China’s Xinhua news agency reported.
Buchoy Hassan, also known as Black or Bocoi, was neutralised following a law enforcement operation launched by the Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi and the police at his residence in Barangay Panglima Alari, Sitangkai, the military said.
Hassan, 48, is one of the wanted in Malaysia for his involvement in the abduction of a Chinese at the Pom Pom Island Resort in Sabah in November 2013. Hassan’s possible involvement in the kidnapping cannot be discounted and is being looked into.
Further recovered by troops in the residence of the Abu Sayyaf sub-leader were one M16 rifle, five speedboats and several outboard motors, according to a wire report by Bernama.
He was reportedly dwelling in Barangay Panglima Alari, Sitangkai, where he used his share from ransom payment for his illegal drugs “syabu” operations in the municipalities of Sibutu, Sipangkot and Bongao, all in Tawi-Tawi.
Hassan recruited cohorts and acquired several speedboats to sustain his illegal activities and became the key facilitator in the illegal drugs trade in Tawi-Tawi.
“We are continuously conducting law enforcement support operations to assist the police and other law enforcement agencies in expediting the arrest of notorious members of the kidnap-for ransom group and in pre-empting kidnapping attempts in the province,” said Major General Carlito Galvez Jr, commander of the Western Mindanao Command.
“We would also like to urge local leaders and communities to continue reporting whereabouts of these lawless elements especially Abu Sayyaf members to competent authorities,” he added.
The Abu Sayyaf bandits executed a German hostage in the jungles of Sulu last month, who was abducted in November last year while yachting with his partner off Sabah in Malaysia. His partner was found killed last year.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the military to launch an all-out offensive against the estimated 500 Abu Sayyaf bandits operating mostly in the hinterlands of southern Philippine provinces of Sulu and Basilan.