Most-wanted terrorism suspect killed in Philippines, military says

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Manila- Brig.-Gen. Joselito Kakilala, Philippines Military Spokesman, said one of the country’s most wanted terrorist was Sunday in a clash with Muslim rebels.

He said this was few months after the Muslim rebels signed a peace deal with the government.

Kakilala said the clash between members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Abdul Basit Usman and two of his companions occurred in the town of Guindulungan in Maguindanao province, 960 kilometres south of Manila.

“After the firefight, Basit Usman and two of his companions were killed,” he said.

Kakilala said this was a big blow to local terrorists, because their connections abroad have been cut off with Usman’s death.

The spokesman said the body of Usman was still with the MILF fighters and authorities were waiting for details on the firefight to verify the suspect’s death.

Kakilala said Usman was one of two terrorist suspects targeted in an operation by officers in nearby Mamasapano town in January.

He said the other suspect, Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, was killed in a January operation that also left 44 police officers dead.

Kakilala said Usman was a -making expert believed to be affiliated with the regional terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah and the Philippine militant group Abu Sayyaf.

“Washington has offered 1 million dollars in cash reward for his capture,’’ he said.

He added the U.S. had also offered a 5 million dollar reward for the capture of Zulkifli, a U.S. trained engineer who was a key operative and bomber of the regional terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah. (dpa/NAN)