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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Philippine Coast Guard thwarts Abu Sayyaf attempt to seize container vessel

Philippine Navy forces foiled on Tuesday afternoon an attempt by alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf Group to hijack a container vessel off Sibago Island in Basilan province, the military said Wednesday.

Major Felimon Tan, spokesperson for Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom), said that ship's crew vigilance and quick response by naval forces pressured the Abu Sayyaf members to abandon their hijack plot and to flee towards the Moro Gulf.

Tan said that MV Ocean Kingdom was on its course from Zamboanga City to Davao City when six supposed Abu Sayyaf members on board two water crafts and armed with M16, M14, and AK47 rifles attempted to commandeer the vessel.

All the container vessel's 28 crew members were unhurt during the attack but the ship sustained gunshot holes both in its port and starboard sides.
Upon receiving the distress call from the ship's crewmen, Wesmincom deployed naval vessels with members of the Naval Special Operations Unit aided by air assets.

Tan said air assets were deployed to conduct aerial reconnaissance and later on prepositioned in the area as government forces continue to monitor transiting vessels in the Basilan Strait and the Zamboanga City waters.

He added that the Joint Task Forces Zamboanga, Basilan, and Sulu were already alerted and directed to look out and pursue the perpetrators.

Meanwhile, the MV Ocean Kingdom is back on its course towards Davao City. —Amita Legaspi/LBG, GMA News

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Abu Sayyaf member killed in military operation

ZAMBOANGA CITY – An Abu Sayyaf member under Furudji Indama was killed during a military operation in Barangay Sapah Bulak in Sumisip, Basilan on Wednesday, the military said.

Major Filemon Tan Jr., the spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command, identified the slain bandit as certain Garabat.

He said soldiers and militiamen conducted an operation in the village when they clashed with Garabat’s group.

He said Garabat was eventually killed. Tan said the bandit’s body was recovered along with his assault rifle.

Tan said the bandits fled at the height of the clash and were now being pursued. JE

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