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Security forces kill Abu Sayyaf leader who appeared in beheading videos

SANDAKAN: Philippine security forces have killed the “media-savvy” Abu Sayyaf leader who appeared in several videos of hostage executions.

He was among the five gunmen killed in a clash in Bohol in the central Philippines on Tuesday.

Senior Supt Jonathan Cabal, head of the Central Visayas police office intelligence division, confirmed the death of Muamar Askali, alias Abu Rami.

One of the few Abu Sayyaf leaders who spoke English, Abu Rami usually issued final warnings on the videos prior to the hostages being beheaded. The victims included Sarawakian Bernard Then, who was murdered on Nov 17, 2015.

Abu Rami’s death was described as a major setback to the group, which is responsible for dozens of kidnappings in Sabah.

The Abu Sayyaf leader was with about 60 gunmen who entered Bohol province when they were confronted by security forces.

At least nine people – five militants, three soldiers and one policeman – were killed in the gun battle, which took place in the mountain village of Napo in Inabanga town.

Bohol province is relatively far from the terrorists’ southern jungle bases but the US Government had warned that the gunmen might carry out kidnappings there.-thestar

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