Monday, March 8, 2010
By: LIEUTENANT COLONEL EDGARD A AREVALO PN(M)
Director, Naval Public Affairs Office
08 March 2010
Navy’s Fleet-Marine Forces swoop-down on a suspected combined Abu-Sayaff and Jemaah Islamiya Terrorist lair in Laminusa Island off Siasi early morning Sunday March 7, 2010 killing 10 terrorists. Joint Task Force Comet Commander Brigadier General Rustico Guerrero said that the operation targeted top South East Asian JI terrorist Zulkifli Bin Abdul Hir alyas Marwan who is wanted for several murders and other terrorist attack including the Bali Bombing. Marwan is believed to be the link of Jemaah Islamiya to the Abu Sayaff and head of a terrorist cell in Mindanao. He is being protected by ASG sub-leader Elahan Ansit with about 20 heavily armed followers.
Marine Lieutenant Colonel Robert Velasco, commander of the amphibious operation, said that 18 high powered firearms including two medium machine guns and three grenade launchers, magazines, thousands of rounds of ammunition of different calibers, and voluminous bomb making materials were recovered in the scene of the encounter. The fleeing terrorists also left behind five of their dead cohorts (body counts) while five others were reported to have been immediately buried in several places. One Marine was wounded in the firefight
Velasco related that the raiding team composed of Marine Special Operation Forces lead by Major Willy Manalang and Captain Bogs Nono swiftly and silently penetrated the terrorist’s lair using newly acquired Navy fast attack crafts and special equipment. The terrorists who were scattered in different houses were surprised when the Marines suddenly appeared in their area. However, instead of surrendering, the terrorists fired at the raiding teams triggering a sporadic firefight. Lieutenants Dohinog, Delasa and Molina who were part of the raiding team narrated that some of them were still wading in chest deep sea water when the enemies started firing. “The targets were in stilt supported houses situated above the water which made it difficult to access. The presence of innocent civilians complicated the situation” added Dohinog.
Third Marine Brigade Commander Colonel Mario Montejo explained that the operation was a product of five months of intelligence build-up and force preparation. Most of the information were provided by the locals in the area. Ansit who is one of those killed is the cuddler of Marwan who was able to escape with the help of Ansit’s heavily armed cohorts. Marwan’s house was guarded by Ansit’s men. 11 persons were also arrested and being investigated for several crimes including violation of the anti-terror law. Montejo said that local officials lead by the barangay captain Ruben Saipuddin were present in the scene and assisted the Marines after the raid.
Provincial officials lead by Governor Sakur Tan lauded General Guerrero and the Task Force Comet for their relentless anti-terrorism efforts in Sulu Province. Just recently, notorious terrorist leader Albader Parad and several of his men were killed by Marine Scout Snipers in an encounter in Indanan, Sulu. Parad is responsible for, among others, the kidnapping of three European Red Cross volunteers and ABS-CBN journalist Ces Drilon and her crew. Guerrero said that the raid dismantled and disrupted one of the most active JI terrorist cells in Southeast Asia. This string of anti-terror successes is a result of a well implemented Task Force Comet Campaign Plan with the objective of addressing the root causes of terrorism. “We do not just want to win the war on terror we want to win the peace and development as well” Guerrero added.