Tag Archive: Al Barka


Two Abu Sayyaf members were killed while at least 10 other people, including civilians, were injured when government troops clashed with the bandit group in Al Barka, Basilan, on Sunday, the military said.

Two bandits were killed and at least two others were wounded, said Capt. Maria Rowena Muyuela, spokesperson of the Armed Forces’ Western Mindanao Command.

Initial reports from the Joint Task Group Basilan indicate that three soldiers suffered slight injuries, Muyuela said.

Five civilians, including two young children, were wounded after being shot at by Abu Sayyaf members during the clash, said 1Lt. Sally Christine Magno, civil-military operations officer of the Army’s 104th Brigade.

They were identified as Jumiran Misa, 52; Radisa Misa, 18; Sanima Husien, 29; Asma Husien, 2; and Sarfe Misa, 5; all residents of Sitio Peggesan, Brgy. Guinanta.

Elements of the Joint Task Group Basilan encountered Abu Sayyaf members led by Basir Kasaran in Brgy. Kuhon around 5:45 a.m.

As the fighting went on, bandits also shot at civilians near the encounter site around 11:35 a.m., so soldiers conducted rescue operations, Magno said.

After rescuing the civilians, soldiers brought them to a hospital in Lamitan City for first aid then transferred them to another facility in Isabela City, she said.

Sporadic firefights, meanwhile, went on until 1 p.m., Magno said.

The clash is a result of efforts of the multi-agency Task Force Kasanyangan, which aims to address the prevailing insurgency problem and revive governance in Al Barka, a known Abu Sayyaf stronghold, she said. (John Roson)

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A Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) commander and an Abu Sayyaf member were killed in a four-hour clash with Army soldiers and troops of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Al Barka, Basilan, Saturday, military officials said.

Killed were BIFF commander Basir Kasaran and Abu Sayyaf member Misuari Jamiri, Army 18th Infantry Battalion commander Lt. Col. Paolo Perez said.

Kasaran was the highest-ranking BIFF leader in Basilan and was also third in the Abu Sayyaf’s heirarchy in the province, Perez said in a text message.

One member of the MNLF, who worked along with government troops, also died in the fighting, he said.

The clash in Brgy. Kuhon Lennuh erupted around 5 a.m. and lasted until 9 a.m., Perez said.

Elements of the 18th IB “ambushed” Abu Sayyaf members with the help of MNLF members led by Ombong Malatin alias Commander Cobra, he said.

“Nauna sila (MNLF) with an intelligence team, then nag-reinforce ‘yung two platoons ko with mortars dahil naipit sila sa noong mag-pintakasi ‘yung ibang Abu Sayyaf,” Perez added.

Malatin is working with the Army because he has siblings who are among MNLF members integrated into the military, Perez said.

He said members of Kasaran’s BIFF group are also Abu Sayyaf members.

“Isang grupo lang ‘yan, same banana with different letters. Parehong suportado ng al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah, pareho lang terorista,” he said.

Brigadier General Carlito Galvez, commander of the Army’s 104th Brigade, said the death of Kasaran is a “great blow” to both the BIFF and Abu Sayyaf in Basilan.

Kasaran was responsible for a series of atrocities against residents of Al Barka, including a massive looting incident in 2013, Galvez said.

“Kasaran led the Abu Sayyaf in ransacking houses in Matata, Kuhon Lennuh, and Danapa during the barangay election last year. While the people were casting their votes, his group and the Abu Sayyaf looted all the valuable items and belongings inside the unattended houses. Kinatatakutan si Basir sa Al Barka,” he said.

Jamiri, on the other hand, was a cousin of Abu Sayyaf sub-commander Nurhassan Jamiri, Galvez added. (John Roson)

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Two Army personnel, including an officer, and six suspected Abu Sayyaf members were killed as government troops clashed with bandits who ambushed them in Al Barka, Basilan, on Monday, military officials said.

Col. Carlito Galvez, commander of the Army’s 104th Brigade, identified the fatalities on the government side as Maj. Alin Kannung, executive officer of the 32nd Infantry Battalion, and Tsgt. Ferdinand Costan.

Six suspected Abu Sayyaf members were killed but only two bodies, identified to be those of a certain “Mingkong” and Mardan Sapilin, were recovered, Galvez said.

Four other soldiers, including Cpl. Julambre Sabri of the 18th Infantry Battalion, were injured during the clash while three Abu Sayyaf members wer reportedly wounded, he said.

The clash occurred around 3 p.m. while members of the 32nd and 18th IB were passing through Sitio Pagtawanan, Brgy. Magcawa, on military vehicles.

The soldiers were on their way to Brgy. Bohe Piang to distribute livestock and inspect future projects of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), when they were ambushed by about 30 fully-armed men, Galvez said.

The armed men are members of the Abu Sayyaf and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters led by Basir Kasaran alias Commander Basir and Musana Jamiri, he said.

“The government forces were subjected to mortar and sniper fires for three hours,” Galvez said.

“Naka-dismount naman ‘yung mga tropa natin during that and were able to fight back,” he said.

Kannung, a native of Tipo-Tipo, was a former Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) commander who was integrated into the Armed Forces after the government signed a peace agreement with that rebel group in 1996, Col. Rodrigo Gregorio, AFP Western Mindanao spokesman, said.

After joining the AFP, Kannung had been “very active” in the campaign against the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan and this is believed to be the cause of the bandits’ hatred on him, Gregorio said.

Kannung’s group was to distribute goats and other livestock as part of the 104th Brigade’s livelihood assistance to residents of Brgys. Kambug and Bohe Piang, when they were ambushed, according to the regional military spokesman.

The area is the “home base” of Commander Dan Asnawi, Gregorio said.

Asnawi commands an armed unit of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) with whom soldiers figured in a bloody clash on Oct. 18, 2011. Nineteen soldiers and five MILF guerrillas died in that fighting.

Gregorio said all the soldiers who were injured in Monday’s clash have been airlifted to the Camp Navarro Station Hospital in Zamboanga City.

Members of the 18th IB, backed by members of the 4th Scout Ranger Battalion, continued distributing livestock to residents of Brgy. Magcawa on Tuesday, despite the ambush, Galvez said. (John Roson)

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An Abu Sayyaf sub-leader wanted by the authorities for the deadly clash last October reportedly got killed in an ambush in Al Barka, Basilan, on Sunday, a military official said.

Long Malat Sulayman was ambushed by the group of a certain Ibnie Mallapin in Brgy. Kuhon Lennuh around 11 a.m., said Col. Ricardo Visaya, commander of the Army’s 104 Brigade and Joint Task Force Basilan.

Malat reportedly died around 3 p.m. due to loss of blood, Visaya said in a text message, citing information from a “reliable source.”

Mallapin, a “lawless element” and son of a certain Ombong of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), was said to have carried out the ambuscade due to “rido,” according to the military official.

Malat was among the more than 300 persons charged by the police for the clash that left 19 soldiers and five Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters dead in Al Barka last October 18.

The soldiers were said to be on a mission to arrest Malat and MILF 114th Base Command sub-commander Dan Laksaw Asnawi for previous murder charges that stemmed from the beheading of 10 of 14 Marines killed, also in Al Barkah, in 2007. (John Roson)

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Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin welcomed the suspension that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) imposed on three of its commanders for the deadly encounter in Al Barkah, Basilan, despite finding the sanction “very light.”

“Kahit very light ‘yung punishment na binigay, at least gumalaw sila, in-acknowledge na nagkamali sila,” Gazmin told reporters in an interview Thursday.

The defense chief made the remark after MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal announced that the rebel group suspended three commanders of its armed wing, the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, for the Oct. 18 clash.

Among those suspended were BIAF 114th Base Command sub-commander Dan Laksaw Asnawi, whose men were involved in the fighting.

“We suspended three commanders… we suspended them for three months and then they are told to undertake education especially on the ceasefire agreement,” Iqbal said Wednesday.

“The fact that we punished our commanders is an indication that we also agree that the MILF had violated (the ceasefire),” Iqbal added.

Days after the clash, the military relieved from their posts four ranking Army officials for allegedly failing to coordinate a manhunt operation with the MILF. The four are now facing possible court martial proceedings.

“Lack of coordination” between both sides was blamed for the clash, which left 19 government soldiers and five rebel fighters dead amid their ongoing ceasefire.

“Kahit papaano, light man o heavy, at least nagre-react sila (MILF). In other words gumagalaw ang hustisya, kahit sa kanila,” Gazmin said of the MILF’s sanction on its men. (John Roson)

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AFP protests MILF ‘treachery’

The Armed Forces has protested the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) participation in the encounter that left at least 13 soldiers dead, 12 wounded, and eight still missing, in Al Barkah, Basilan.

Additional soldiers have also been sent to pursue those who were involved in the attack and search for the soldiers who were still missing as of Wednesday noon, AFP public affairs chief Col. Arnulfo Burgos said.

The military identified those killed as 1lts. Colt Alsiyao, Frank Junder Caminos, Vladimir Maninang, 2lt. Jose Delfine Khe, Pfcs. Michael Miguel, Garry Coronia, Dennis Bulan, Jordan Magno, Jonis Rigor, Ervin Dequito, Emerson Tugas, and Jordan Olivar.

Among the injured were 1lt. Joy Soliguen, Fidel Susarno, Pfcs. Jeff Sherwin Domingo, Benjamin Marquez, Arnel Balili, Mario Flora, Joseph Muyco, Jestoni Leyso, Reynante Malina, Russel Alsaga, and Pvt. Leo Moniol.

The military did not name the eight missing soldiers.

DND shocked

“It’s very unfortunate, we were shocked… They (soldiers) were just in a routine performance of duty,” Department of National Defense spokesman Atty. Zosimo Jesus Paredes said, when sought for comment.

“They (military) can file a protest, according to the ceasefire agreement,” he added.

In a press briefing, Burgos said the protest was filed to the Committee on Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) and the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG) shortly after the clash.

This was because the rebels “reinforced” the armed men that soldiers were pursuing 5:30 a.m. Tuesday in Sitio Baisung, Brgy. Cambug, he said.

Members of the 13th and 19th Special Forces Companies were pursuing the group of Dan Laksaw Asnawi when the number of enemies suddenly “swelled up to 400,” outnumbering the troops 4 to 1, Colonel Carlito Galvez, operations chief of the AFP J3 (Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations) Office, said in the same briefing.

There was no reason for the MILF to join because the the fighting happened 4 kilometers from the rebels’ “area of temporary settlement” in Brgy. Ginanta, Burgos stressed.

‘Limited pursuit’

Meanwhile, Burgos said additional troops from the 4th Scout Ranger Battalion and other Army units have been sent to the area to pursue those who were involved in the clash and look for the missing soldiers.

Air assets like the UH1H and MG520 helicopters were again dispatched to help the search, he said.

“Ang paramount concern natin is to rescue the missing in action personnel and clearing operations,” Burgos said.

He, however, admitted that the pursuit will be “limited” as the military is not allowed to enter the MILF territory and risk another clash.

“We have to exercise restraint and we have to observe also ‘yung ‘area of temporary stay,’ as stipulated in the ceasefire agreement,” Burgos said.

“We are still seeking the go signal of the AHJAG and CCCH so that we can enter the MILF’s area of temporary stay,” Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, AFP Western Mindanao Command spokesman, said. (John Roson)

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12 soldiers killed in Basilan clash

Hassan Dan Laksaw Asnawi, a member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front's 114th Base Command, escaped from the Basilan Provincial Jail in 2009 after being arrested for the beheading of Marines in Al Barka in 2007. He was said to have led the rebels in a clash that left at least 12 soldiers dead, also in Al Barka, on Tuesday

Twelve soldiers got killed while 10 others were left missing and 11 more were wounded in a clash with suspected Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Abu Sayyaf members in Al Barka, Basilan, Tuesday, the military said.

Lieutenant Col. Randolph Cabangbang, Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command spokesman, said the clash between members of the Army’s 4th Special Forces Battalion (4SFB) and armed men erupted at Sitio Bakisung, Brgy. Cambug, around 5:30 a.m.

“Our troops were operating based on the information of the presence of an armed group, possibly with kidnap victims. It was reported that the armed groupis being headed by Dan Laksaw Asnawi, a fugitive,” Cabangbang said.

“We are currently coordinating with the Committee on Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities and Ad Hoc Joint Action Group because allegedly some MILF members were involved in the killing and wounding of our soldiers,” he added.

The clash lasted for six hours and the slain soldiers included a Capt. Caminos, Lt. Siao, and Lt. Manina, a military source said, adding that seven were killed on the enemy side.

Those killed on the MILF side were identified as Ustadz Munip Habibun, Manap Limaya, a certain Haji Rick, Kaharut Abdusal, Baddi, Sibin, and Marijul, according to a report from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Police Office.

Colonel Arnulfo Burgos, Armed Forces public affairs chief, said the troops clashed with members of the Abu Sayyaf and “lawless elements.”

An MG520 helicopter and OV-10 bomber plane were sent to provide “close air support” to the embattled troops while two UH-1H helicopters were also deployed to fetch the wounded, Burgos said.

The soldiers, comprised of members of 13the Special Forces Company and students of the military’s scuba diving course, encountered MILF members under Dan Laksaw Asnawi and Abu Sayyaf members under Nurhassan Jamiri, the source said.

“They (soldiers) were in the area to hunt down an escapee from the Basilan Provincial Jail when they encountered armed men, another group reinforced the enemy so our troops were outnumbered,” said the source.

Asnawi, according to police records, is a member of the MILF 114th Base Command and was among those charged for the killing of 14 Marines, of which 10 were beheaded, in Al Barka in 2007.

He and at least 30 inmates were “rescued” from the Basilan Provincial Jail in December 13, 2009, when a band of heavily-armed men stormed the facility. (John Roson)

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Government troops clashed with suspected Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Abu Sayyaf members in Al Barka, Basilan, early Tuesday, leaving 11 combatants dead, military sources said.

Four soldiers, comprising three officers and an enlisted personnel, got killed while seven lay dead on the enemy side, a military source said, adding that three other soldiers were injured.

The soldiers, all of the Army’s 4th Special Forces Battalion (4SFB), were hunting down an escapee from the Basilan Provincial Jail when they encountered armed men, said the source, who requested anonymity for lack of authority to speak on the matter.

Lieutenant Col. Randolph Cabangbang, Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command spokesman, confirmed that members of the 4SFB clashed with “armed men” around 5:30 a.m.

Cabangbang, however, said they still have yet to receive other details on the clash as the military unit in the area was still occupied in the “evacuation of casualties.” Casualties, in military parlance, can mean either dead or wounded.

Colonel Arnulfo Burgos, Armed Forces public affairs chief, said the troops clashed with members of the Abu Sayyaf and “lawless elements.”

An MG520 helicopter and OV-10 bomber plane were sent to provide “close air support” to the embattled troops while two UH-1H helicopters were also deployed to fetch the wounded, Burgos said.

The soldiers, comprised of members of 13the Special Forces Company and students of the military’s scuba diving course, encountered MILF members under Laksaw Dan Asnawi and Abu Sayyaf members under Nurhassan Jamiri.

“They (soldiers) were in the area to hunt down an escapee from the Basilan Provincial Jail when they encountered armed men, another group reinforced the enemy so our troops were outnumbered,” the source said.

Asnawi, according to police records, is a member of the MILF 114th Base Command and was among those charged for the killing of 14 Marines, of which 10 were beheaded, in Al Barka in 2007.

He and at least 30 inmates were “rescued” from the Basilan Provincial Jail in December 13, 2009, when a band of heavily-armed men stormed the facility. (John Roson)

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