MANILA - Four members of the Abu Sayyaf Group, including a relative of terrorist leader Isnilon Hapilon, were killed in a military offensive on Wednesday morning in Basilan province, the Armed Forces' Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) said Thursday.
A 30-minute firefight between 15 Abu Sayyaf members and joint elements of the military and the police resulted in the death of Ustadz Mobin Kulin, alias Mulawin, a cousin of Hapilon, in Tapiantana Island.
Three other Abu Sayyaf members were also killed, based on the bodies recovered in the encounter site.
Government troops also seized several high-powered firearms including a Barrett M82 sniper rifle, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher with ammunition, and 12 grenade launcher rifles.
Kulin was an “active and hardcore” Abu Sayyaf member from Lantawan, Basilan who was involved in the Lamitan siege and Dos Palmas incidents in the province, according to the military.
The remains of the slain Abu Sayyaf members will be turned over to the Basilan Provincial Police Office.
“All-out offensives are being conducted by the Joint Task Force Basilan with the support and coordination of the local government, police, and civilians in the province against the Abu Sayyaf bandits who are responsible for the conduct of bombings, extortion activities, and kidnappings in Basilan,” said Wesmincom commander Major General Carlito G. Galvez, Jr.
Authorities are still conducting pursuit operations against other members of the terrorist group.