Abu Sayyaf bandit dies in Basilan shootout

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ZAMBOANGA CITY – An Abu Sayyaf bandit was killed while two policemen were wounded in a shootout with security forces in a law enforcement operation in the province of Basilan, officials disclosed Saturday.

Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said that slain in a shootout Friday was Poloy Hallang alias Commander Heck, a member of the Basilan-based Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

Vinluan said the shootout ensued as Hallang and his two companions, Amil Hallang and Ronie Hallang, opened fire prompting the troops to return fire while they were on a law enforcement operation by way of service of warrants of arrest against the three ASG members in Barangay Baungis, Lantawan, Basilan province.

The warrant servers consisted of personnel of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), 4th Special Forces Battalion, 53rd and 54th Special Action Company of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF), and 2nd Basilan Province Mobile Force Company.

“The target personalities resisted arrest and initiated gunfire against the operating troops. A short exchange of fire ensued, yielding to the neutralization of Commander Heck,” said Lt. Col. Alex Ampati, commander of the 4th Special Forces Battalion.

The identities of the two wounded policemen were withheld except that they are members of the PNP-SAF. They are in stable condition.

Ampati said the troops have recovered an M-116 Armalite rifle and assorted ammunition at the shootout scene.

Brig. Gen. Domingo Gobway, Joint Task Force Basilan commander, sand Commander Heck was on the ASG watchlist as of yearend 2020.

“He has a criminal case for murder dated June 8, 2010. He participated in an armed engagement with the 14th Special Forces Company in the municipality of Lantawan in 2014 which resulted in the death of Capt. Mark Zember Gamboa. He was also responsible for the killing of a certain Noning Jainal of Lantawan,” Gobway said.

The cadaver of the slain Abu Sayyaf bandit and the recovered items were turned over to the police for proper disposition.

“Team Westmincom will continue to support other law enforcement agencies to curb lawlessness and criminalities in our area of operation,” Vinluan said.

“The peace and security of the communities here in Mindanao are our foremost responsibility hence we always ensure that we do our job well and with passion,” Vinluan added. – Nikolai Gonzalo

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