MANILA – Philippine troops have killed a senior leader of the notorious Abu Sayyaf group responsible for kidnapping Malaysians and Indonesians in waters off Sabah state, including an engineer beheaded in 2015.
Alhabsy Misaya was killed in a shootout with marines on Friday in the province of Sulu, a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf, a group linked to Islamic State and known for its kidnappings and beheading captives when ransom demands are not met.
Lieutenant-General Carlito Galvez of the Western Mindanao Command said on Saturday that Misaya was killed in the Abu Sayyaf’s stronghold province of Sulu, some 950km south of the capital Manila, according to a Reuters report.
Misaya was behind the abduction in May 2015 of Malaysians Thien Nyuk Fun, 50, manager of the Ocean King Seafood Restaurant, and Bernard Then, 39-year-old engineer, in Sandakan town.
The military said Misaya had been involved in violent activities for more than 15 years and was “considered to be one of the most notorious kidnappers in the southern Philippines”.
Abu Sayyaf is a major concern for the Philippines and is showing no letup in its kidnappings, most of which target sailors from Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. It has also taken Westerners captive, and last year decapitated two Canadians and in February, an elderly German.