Tag Archive: Carlito Galvez

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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Seven soldiers were injured as government troops clashed anew with Moro gunmen in Lamitan City, Basilan, on Friday, authorities said.

About 100 members of the Abu Sayyaf and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) carried out an attack on a building near the city’s port 9:55 a.m., Col. Carlito Galvez, commander of the Army’s 104th Brigade, said.

Members of the Army’s 18th Infantry Battalion and Scout Rangers who were deployed to the area due to a previous clash on Thursday engaged the attacking gunmen, he said.

“Nagsimula ang bakbakan and then we were subjected by the enemy to mortar fires, but we were able to repulse their onslaught,” Galvez said.

“Ang palagay ko ang target talaga nila (gunmen) is makapasok dun sa sentro ng Lamitan,” he said.

Galvez expressed belief that the attack is related to the ongoing “standoff” between government troops and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MNLF) members in Zamboanga City, just a boat ride away.

“Most probably it is related sa Zambo issue saka alam natin na ang Abu Sayyaf gusto nyang magkaroon ng leverage to gain support from the BIFF and the MNLF para maganda ang broad base niya for another recruitment,” he said.

Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, Armed Forces public affairs chief, said the clash lasted for two hours before the gunmen fled.

“The gunmen failed to overwhelm a ARMM-DPWH satellite building,” he said.

A military helicopter landed at the nearby Claret High School’s open ground to fetch the wounded soldiers.

Galvez said clashes on Thursday and Friday prompted the Lamitan City government to order evacuations.

Thursday’s clash in Brgy. Colonia left a militiaman and three Moro gunmen killed, and 12 other persons injured, according to the military.

As of Friday morning, at least 120 families or 2,000 persons have already evacuated, Ramon Santos, Office of Civil Defense-ARMM director, said.

The number of evacuees were still rising as of Friday afternoon, Santos said in a text message.

The evacuees came from Brgys. Bulanting, Campo Uno, Colonia, Cabobo, and Balobo, Senior Supt. Mario Dapilloza, Basilan provincial police director, said.

The evacuees, mostly women and children, are staying at the Datu Dizal evacuation center while other residents are still staying in their homes, he said.

Dapilloza shared Galvez’s view that the attacks are related to the standoff in Zamboanga City.

“This is a diversionary tactic ng Abu Sayyaf at lost command ng MNLF para ‘yung attention ay ma-focus naman dito, para magkaroon ng division ‘yung operating units sa ground sa Zamboanga,” he said.

Dapilloza said security has been tightened in Basilan since the standoff started.

“In place na ang security since mangyari ‘yung sa Zamboanga dahil we received intelligence reports na isusunod ang Lamitan… parang sa Zamboanga, parang balak nilang pasukin din,” he said.

Dapilloza said more policemen and soldiers have been sent to Maluso, another coastal town on the opposite site of the island-province. (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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Abu Sayyaf commander Isnilon Hapilon, who is wanted by the US government, was wounded in the raid by the military in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan, on Monday, an Army official said Tuesday.

Hapilon was grazed by a bullet on the head as reported by military snipers, Col. Carlito Galvez, commander of the Army’s 104th Brigade, said in a phone interview.

A nephew of Hapilon also suffered a bullet wound to the shoulder while at least four other Abu Sayyaf members were injured, Galvez said.

Hapilon and the other wounded, however, escaped during the raid which targeted him and Furuji Indama, another high-ranking Abu Sayyaf commander.

“Apparently naka[takas] po sila (Hapilon and Indama), pero si Isnilon nagkaroon ng slight wound sa head,” Galvez said.

Eight Abu Sayyaf gunmen were seen as getting killed in the firefight, but troops recovered only two bodies, he said.

A report reaching the military headquarters in Manila said the two bodies found at the clash site belonged to an alias “Abu Digod” and a certain Buga Teddy.

Three soldiers, identified as Sgt. Magno of the Army, A2C Kasilag of the Air Force, and SN1 Merquit of the Navy, were wounded in the firefight, according to the report.

Galvez said the raid in Brgy. Silangkum was launched purposely to find Hapilon and Indama because their groups have been “pestering” Basilan residents with kidnappings and extortion.

“Walang let up po ito. Walang let up po itong operations na ito until the Tipo-Tipo and Al Barka areas have been cleared of the Abu Sayyaf. Nagfo-focused military operations kami ngayon,” he said.

According to the official, Hapilon and Indama’s latest exploits include extorting “protection money” from the contractor of the Basilan Circumferential Road.

“Ine-extort nila ng P1 million ‘yung contractor, P2 billion kasi ang contract nun… parang protection money ang hinihingi,” he said.

The contractor has so far finished 12 kilometers of the 121-kilometer road that would run around the entire island-province, according to the official.

Hapilon first gained notoriety for his involvement in the May 2001 incident at the Dos Palmas resort in Palawan where 20 people, including three Americans, were kidnapped.

Guillermo Sobero, one of the three American kidnap victims, was beheaded a month after the abduction.

American missionary Martin Burnham, the other kidnap victim, was killed in the crossfire between the Abu Sayyaf and soldiers who conducted a rescue operation in October 2001. His wife Gracia was injured but rescued.

The Dos Palmas kidnappings prompted the US government to offer up to $5 million, or more than P206 million, for Hapilon’s capture or killing.

Indama, though not included in the US list of Filipino terror suspects, is an Abu Sayyaf sub-commander blamed for several bombing and kidnapping incidents, as well as the 2007 beheading of 10 Marine troopers in Basilan.

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At least six Abu Sayyaf gunmen were killed while three soldiers were injured as government troops raided the bandit group’s lair in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan, early Monday.

The operation in Brgy. Silangkum was launched purposely to find Abu Sayyaf commanders Furuji Indama and Isnilon Hapilon, Col. Carlito Galvez, commander of the Army’s 104th Brigade, said by phone.

Troops clashed with an undetermined number of bandits around 5:30 a.m. and the firefight lasted for three hours, Galvez said.

Soldiers captured the Abu Sayyaf’s encampment an hour into the fighting, he said.

The Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command, meanwhile, said it coordinated with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front before carrying out the operation.

“The operation was conducted and directed only against the Abu Sayyaf, with utmost consideration for the safety of MILF communities in the operational area,” Col. Rodrigo Gregorio, AFP Westmincom spokesman, said in a statement. (John Roson)

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