High-seas pursuit leads to deaths of IS-linked terror suspects in southern Philippines

Photo: 11th Infantry Division, Philippine Army

Philippine military and law enforcement personnel have concluded a joint operation wherein they successfully foiled an attempt by a local terror group to kidnap innocent civilians from an undisclosed province on the southern island of Mindanao.

Acting on an intelligence report, elements of the Philippine Navy, the Philippine Army, and the Philippine National Police deployed to intercept a small skiff carrying seven members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in the waters off Sulu province at around 02:15 local time on Tuesday, November 3.

The skiff manoeuvred to evade an approaching Philippine Navy multi-purpose attack craft (MPAC) that had been despatched with embarked army and police personnel tasked with preventing the suspects from escaping.

The government troops then engaged the ASG gunmen in a firefight that lasted several minutes and ended only when the MPAC rammed the skiff, causing it to sink with the suspects still on board.

A senior official of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said an operation has been launched to recover the suspects’ bodies as well as their skiff in the waters off Sulu.

The AFP said it has reason to believe that two of the deceased were high-ranking officials of the ASG, an armed organisation with known links to both the Islamic State and al-Qaeda.

There were no reported casualties on the side of the government forces, though the navy vessel sustained damage to its windscreen from the suspects’ return fire (pictured).

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