The Joint Task Force Sulu (JTF Sulu) operating under Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) confirmed the death of an ISIS IED expert during a civilian-tipped armed operation against Abu Sayyaf Group in Sitio Tubig Amu, Barangay Tanum, Patikul, Sulu at 7:15 am on November 22.
The Philippine Army’s 1st Scout Ranger Battalion conducted the operation.
According to WESTMINCOM, Talha Jumsah alias Abu Talha is a high-value target of the AFP in Sulu. He is an ISIS-trained Improvised Explosive Device (IED) expert who served as an instructor of the ASG in the fabrication of more lethal and destructive IEDs that caused tremendous casualties during the suicide bombings in Sulu.
“He also served as the finance conduit and liaison between foreign and local terrorist communication lines,” WESTMINCOM said.
The cadaver of Abu Talha was recovered 800 meters away from the encounter site during the follow-up operation conducted by the troops of the 1101st Infantry Brigade at 8:30am on November 23.
“The death of Abu Talha will surely cause demoralization in the ASG ranks in Sulu. It could have not been made possible without the support of the Tausug community who reported the presence of the armed terrorists and volunteered to serve as guides during the conduct of combat operations,” said Brigadier General Antonio Nafarrete, 1101st Brigade Commander.
Major General Corleto Vinluan Jr, Commander of the JTF Sulu reiterated his “appeal to them to surrender and live a normal life instead of being hunt down as fleeing criminals and disgrace to the peace-loving Tausug Community. One by one, we will hunt you down.”
“It is our desire that everyone will have a meaningful celebration this yuletide season that is why we are further intensifying our operations against all threats in the region and comply with the directive of President Duterte,” WESTMINCOM chief Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana said.