World Bulletin / News Desk
The leader of a kidnap gang linked to a ISIL-affiliated group was shot dead Sunday by security forces in the southern Philippines.
Police spokesperson Chief Insp. Rogelio Alabata said Muhidden Abdusalam Uyong (alias Wanning Abdusalam) died after resisting arrest by soldiers and policemen in the municipality of Naga in Zamboanga Sibugay province.
Abdusalam was reported to be behind the kidnapping of a local mayor in 2015, along with an Australian former soldier and an Irish priest.
Alabata said police and soldiers came to arrest Abdusalam in Naga, but he opened fire on the team triggering a shootout.
The police spokesman said Abdusalam was taken to hospital with injuries sustained in the gunfight but was declared dead on arrival.
Recovered from the scene was a .45 caliber pistol.
Abdulsalam is reported to be a member of a Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters-affiliated "lost command" of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), tagged as involved in the kidnapping of Fr. Michael Sinnott in 2009 and former Australian soldier Warren Rodwell in 2011.
The MILF is currently involved in a long standing peace process with the Philippines government, although a final agreement has been shelved while the country elects a new president.
Sinnott was freed after one month following the intervention of the MILF, while Rodwell was freed after 15 months on a ransom being paid.
The mayor, Gemma Adana, meanwhile, was freed in Oct. 2015 after six months captivity.
Kidnap-for-ransom gangs operate in the Zamboanga peninsula region -- Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga City.
Police say they turn their captives over to the Abu Sayyaf and negotiate for a ransom that, if paid, is shared with the group.
The kidnappers use isolated sea-lanes and coastal areas to grab their victims, who are then held captive in isolated Muslim villages in the peninsula.
Since 1991, the Abu Sayyaf -- armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles -- has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortion in a self-determined fight for an independent Islamic province in the Philippines.
It is notorious for beheading victims after ransoms have failed to be paid for their release.Last Mod: 13 Mart 2016, 13:03