Home / Top News / MILF rebels kill wanted bomber Basit Usman

MILF rebels kill wanted bomber Basit Usman

By Edwin O. Fernandez and Noel Y. Punzalan / Philippines News Agency

Cotabato City—The country’s most wanted bomber who has long eluded arrest by government forces was killed in a clash with members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Maguindanao as the country was busy watching the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. boxing match on Sunday, a ranking police official said.

Abdul Basit Usman, who had a $1 million (about P45 million) reward for his arrest, died in an encounter with MILF guerrillas in the village of Muti, Guindulungan, Maguindanao at 11:50 a.m., according to Senior Supt. Nickson Muksan.

Muksan, the Maguindanao police provincial director, said Usman was killed in a 20-minute firefight with the group of MILF Commander Barok, a sub-leader of the MILF’s 118th base command, headed by Wahid Tundok.

“We confirmed that Usman was killed; his companions were also wounded,” Muksan told reporters.

He said Barangay Muti Chairman Gayak Midtimbang and Guindulungan Mayor Antao Midtimbang confirmed the death of the bomber.

“We are against extremism, we do not welcome Basit Usman in our town,” Mayor Midtimbang told reporters.

Toks Upam, liaison officer of the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities of the MILF, also confirmed Usman’s death.

Quoting reports from MILF field commanders, Mohaqher Iqbal, MILF chief negotiator, said Usman traded shots with members of the MILF in Barangay Muti, triggering a gun battle.

He said the MILF in the area did not know Usman was with a group of armed men passing by the MILF identified area. When accosted, Usman’s group fired shots.

On January 25, Abdul Basit Usman was one of two terrorists eyed by government forces in enforcing Oplan Exodus in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, now known as the 2015 Mamasapano clash.

The other target of the operation, Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli Abd Hir, alias Marwan, was killed in the raid; Usman escaped.

Police and military authorities tagged Usman as the brains behind a series of bombings in General Santos City, Davao, North Cotabato and Cotabato City.

He was also seen in a police commando surveillance video with Marwan a week before the Malaysian terrorist was killed in a police commando operation in Mamasapano on Jan. 25.

Maguindanao Gov. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu was quoted as having said Usman was wounded in the January 25 police operation that also killed 44 Special Action Force members, 17 MILF guerrillas and three civilians.

Mangudadatu said Usman, along with his followers, was moving from one place to another in Maguindanao to elude arrest by pursuing government forces.

Capt. Joann Petinglay, speaking for the 6th Infantry Division, said information about Usman’s death was strong and that the Army in Maguindanao has been placed on heightened alert to thwart any attempt by Usman’s followers to launch terror attacks to avenge his death.

Abu Misry Mama, speaking for the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), which claimed to have coddled Marwan and Usman, refused to confirm or deny the report.

Mama said he was busy watching the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight when he heard of the news and had no way to confirm it.

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