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AFP: Kidnap gang leader hurt in Zambo Sibugay offensive

Waning Abdulsalam, the leader of the “lawless elements" being pursued by government forces in Payao town in Zamboanga Sibugay, has been injured in the firefight, a top military official claimed on Wednesday.

Overrun na iyong camp ni Kumander Juaning na reported na ‘di makalakad due to injuries sustained," said Army chief Lt. Gen. Arturo Ortiz.

He said around 40 other members of the group, which the military said was involved in kidnapping and extortion activities, have been injured as the offensive entered its third day on Wednesday.

“Continuous clearing [ang] mga tropa at marami nasirang reinforced bunkers and battle positions ng kalaban na nasira sa aerial at artillery bombardment," Ortiz said.

The military earlier claimed that Abdulsalam was a unit commander of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), but the rebels denied he was on their roster.

The combined military and police assault force overran the camp located in Sitio Talib in Payao town at about 5 p.m. Recovered from it were improvised explosive devices, Ortiz said.

Chief Superintendent Elpidio de Asis, Zamboanga regional police chief, said the joint police-military force also wants to gain control of a small part of Barangay Labatan, supposedly used by the group “as a safe haven for kidnapping activities."

Pursuit operations and air strikes were launched by government forces in Zamboanga Sibugay against Abdulsalam’s group days after they reportedly clashed with troops in the area. — KBK, GMA News


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