Philippine government troops have killed a senior member of the Abu Sayyaf rebel group instrumental in a spree of bombings and kidnappings in the country’s south, the military said on Saturday.
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.
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.
The government says it is making inroads in crushing the rebels in a bid to arrest the piracy and prevent Islamic State from taking root in the restive region close to Indonesia and Malaysia.