Five operatives of the regional terror network Jemaah Islamiyah are still on the loose after government forces carried out an air raid on the group’s lair in Parang, Sulu, the military said.
“Right now they are disorganized, they are on the run,” Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos, Armed Forces spokesman, said in a briefing Friday. “What we know is that they are still in Mindanao.”
The five are among six Malaysian JI operatives who were monitored by the military as to have entered the Philippines in December, Burgos said.
One of the six, identified only through the alias “Jumong,” was among the 15 terror suspects who were killed in the air strike, he said.
The 15 included JI operatives Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Muhammad Ali bin Abd Al-Rahman alias Muawiyah, and Gumabahali Umbra Jumdail alias Dr. Abu, a top Abu Sayyaf leader, the military said on Thursday.
Burgos identified the others killed in the assault as Abu Sayyaf members Moammar Jumdail alias Ting, a son of Dr. Abu; Tati Jamhali; Tuan Nash Lipae; alias Leong; alias Teng; alias Muin; and alias Julpe.
“We are not in possession (of the slain militants’ bodies) right now, but we already have locations, some were taken deep into the MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front) territory,” he said.
When military planes dropped four 260-pound bombs in Brgy. Duyan Kabao, the militants were “temporarily harbored and housed in tents” and some survived, Burgos said.
“They were confident na hindi sila babanatan kasi nga MNLF territory,” a military source said.
Meanwhile, Burgos said the military is now asking members of the slain militants’ families to let them see the bodies for “identification procedures,” including DNA testing.
Malaysian authorities are also getting in touch with the AFP to recover the body of Marwan, whose mother reportedly requested for her son’s remains to be returned to their home in Muar, Johor, the military spokesman added. (John Roson)
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