A senior Islamic militant, wanted by the US government, has been killed in a clash with the Philippine military in the nation's restive south, an official said yesterday.
Abdul Mubin Sakandal, a leader of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf (Bearer of the Sword) group, was killed during a joint navy and marine operation on the remote island of Tawi-Tawi, a military official said.
Sakandal, also known as Abdurajak Mobin, had allegedly helped carry out a string of high-profile kidnappings of foreigners from resort islands in neighboring Malaysia and from the Philippine isle of Palawan.
"Our naval elements neutralized Mobin ... during a dragnet operation at 7.30pm on Saturday," regional navy chief Rear Admiral Emilio Marayag said.
Posted on the US government's list of wanted "terrorists," Sakandal was a brother in law and a lieutenant of overall Abu Sayyaf leader Khadaffy Janjalani, who was himself killed last year by marines.
Washington had earlier offered up to US$20,000 for Sakandal's arrest, while the Philippine government had placed a separate 2 million peso (US$48,780) bounty on his head.
Founded in the early 1990s by Afghan-trained Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani, the Abu Sayyaf initially fought for an independent Islamic state in the southern Philippines, and had once received funding from Osama bin Laden's network, experts say.
After Janjalani was killed in 1998, the group degenerated into a criminal gang, specializing in kidnap for ransom and bombing attacks.
In 2000 and 2001, they seized dozens of foreign hostages. Although all of the European hostages were later freed on ransom, two kidnapped Americans were killed -- with one of them beheaded.
Last week, 14 Abu Sayyaf members were sentenced to life imprisonment for the deaths of the American hostages.
In 2004, the Abu Sayyaf firebombed a passenger ferry in Manila Bay, killing more than 100 people in the country's worst terrorist attack.
A coronavirus-free tropical island nestled in the northern Pacific might seem the perfect place to ride out a pandemic, but residents on Palau said that life right now is far from idyllic. The microstate of 18,000 people is among a dwindling number of places on Earth that still report zero cases of COVID-19 as figures mount daily elsewhere. The disparate group also includes Samoa, Turkmenistan, North Korea and bases on the frozen continent of Antarctica. A dot in the ocean hundreds of kilometers from its nearest neighbors, Palau is surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, which has acted as a buffer against the
Dutch scientists have found the coronavirus in a city’s wastewater before COVID-19 cases were reported, demonstrating a novel early warning system for the disease. SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — is often excreted in an infected person’s stool. Although it is unlikely that sewage will become an important route of transmission, the pathogen’s increasing circulation in communities would increase the amount of it flowing into sewer systems, Gertjan Medema and colleagues at the KWR Water Research Institute in Nieuwegein said on Monday. They detected genetic material from the coronavirus at a wastewater treatment plant in Amersfoort on March 5, before
TRUE TOLL? Some Chinese are skeptical about official data, particularly given the overwhelmed medical system and initial attempts to cover up the outbreak The long lines and stacks of urns greeting family members of the dead at funeral homes in Wuhan, China, are spurring questions about the true scale of casualties at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, renewing pressure on a Chinese government struggling to control its containment narrative. The families of those who succumbed to the coronavirus in the city, where the disease first emerged, were allowed to pick up their cremated ashes at eight funeral homes last week. As they did, photographs circulated on Chinese social media of thousands of urns being ferried in. Outside one funeral home, trucks shipped in about 2,500
KEEN INTEREST: India is trying to procure medical gear from domestic producers and abroad, and China has emerged as a possible supplier as its factories reopen India is to buy ventilators and masks from China to help it deal with COVID-19, a government official said yesterday, even though some countries in Europe had complained about the quality of the equipment. India has recorded 1,251 cases of the coronavirus, with 32 deaths, but health experts said the country of 1.3 billion people could see a major surge in cases that could overwhelm its weak public health system. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government said that it was trying to procure medical gear, including masks and body coveralls, both from domestic firms and from countries such as South Korea and