Notorious ASG leader’s brother, comrade killed as military intensifies operations

Two Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members including the brother of notorious bomber Mundi Sawadjaan were killed in the recent clash in Sulu.

According to Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., Commander of the Western Mindanao Command, troops of the Joint Task Force Sulu were conducting focused military operations when they encountered three ASG members under sub-leader Mudzrimar Sawadjaan, a.k.a. Mundi, at the boundary of Taung, Taglibi, and Panglayahan in Patikul, Sulu at 3:20 p.m., April 23.

The five-minute exchange of fires resulted in the deaths of two ASG members identified as Mujafal Sawadjaan and Muktihar Taha, a.k.a. Mukti, while their unidentified comrade managed to run away.

“Mujafal was in the ASG watchlist as of the yearend 2020. He is the brother of Mundi. On the other hand, Mukti was not on the watchlist but he was known to be an active follower of Mundi,” said Lt. Gen. Vinluan, Jr.

Reinforcements were deployed as the operating troops continue to scour the area.

Meanwhile, Joint Task Force Sulu Commander Maj. Gen. William Gonzales stated that the 2nd Special Forces Battalion and 32nd Infantry Battalion under the 1103rd Infantry Brigade led by Col. Eugenio Boquio, and the 21st Infantry Battalion and other operating forces of the 1102nd Infantry Brigade led by Col. Benjamin Batara, Jr. had a series of encounters with the ASG group led by Mudzrimar “Mundi” Sawadjaan prior to the neutralization of the two.

“The series of encounters started at around 9:30 a.m. While conducting combat operations, troops of the 2nd Special Forces Battalion led by Lt. Col. Benito Ramos spotted a fleeing ASG member who left behind an improvised explosive device component. Pursuit operation was immediately conducted which resulted in a clash. Operating troops of the 1103rd Infantry Brigade continued to pursue Mundi’s group as the latter desperately evade the government forces,” said Maj. Gen. Gonzales.

“We have received initial reports indicating that Mundi’s youngest brother Al-al Sawadjaan was also neutralized during the encounters but it is yet to be verified. All our forces are on high alert as we continue to hunt for Mundi Sawadjaan. With the death of most of his followers, it is possible that Mundi is evading our forces all by himself,” Maj. Gen. Gonzales added.

Further, Lt. Gen. Vinluan, Jr. said the intensified operations of JTF Sulu aim to finish off the remaining terrorists in the province.

“The people of Sulu deserve to live in peace hence we bolster our combat and non-combat operations to achieve this” Lt. Gen. Vinluan Jr. added. WESTERN MINDANAO COMMAND