Sunday, March 21, 2021

Abu Sayyaf sub-commander Apo Mike slain in firefight with Philippine security forces

Posted to The Star (Mar 21, 2021): Abu Sayyaf sub-commander Apo Mike slain in firefight with Philippine security forces (By STEPHANIE LEE)

Location of the firefight.

KOTA KINABALU: Abu Sayyaf sub-commander Apo Mike has reportedly been killed in the Southern Philippines.

He is believed to be responsible for a spate of kidnappings in Sabah waters over the past years.

Apo MikeApo Mike - whose real name is Majan Sahidjuan - was said to have been killed by Philippine security forces at Barangay Kalupag Island at Languyan in Tawi-Tawi, close to Sabah, on Saturday (March 20) evening.

His death comes two days after Sabah’s remaining kidnap victims - three Indonesian fishermen - were rescued by Philippine security forces on March 18.

Philippine media said that prior to his death, Apo Mike was with his comrades and three Indonesian hostages who were snatched from Sabah in January last year when they got into trouble because of faulty boats.

It is learnt that Apo Mike was marooned on the island after his boat capsized, while two of his comrades fled with the hostages in another vessel that had also sprung a leak.

One of the escaping Abu Sayyaf Group members - Suhud Salasim @ Ben Wagas, believed to be a foot soldier of Apo Mike - was arrested while his hostages were rescued.

It was also reported that troops of the Marine Battalion Landing Team-6 under Lt Col Venjie Pendon responded to a distress call over the presence of suspicious armed men on Barangay Kalupag Island.

Lt Gen Corleto Vinluan Jr, commander of Western Mindanao Command, said the men opened fire at security forces when they approached the island.

He said a firefight ensued, resulting in the death of Apo Mike.

Vinluan Jr said security forces would remain on high alert for the remaining Abu Sayyaf members and step up operations to capture them.