Early morning of November 20, 2020, the Marine Battalion Landing Team 1, 4th Marine Brigade had two (2) consecutive encounters with the Abu Sayyaf Group at Panamao, Sulu.
With the guidance of Joint Task Force – Sulu Commander MGen. William N. Gonzales to intensify combat operations in Sulu, the Marine Battalion Team – 1 of 4th Marine Brigade encountered the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) under Subleader Hatib Munap Binda at around 5:44 AM today at Bud Bawis Complex, Brgy. Kawasan, Panamao, Sulu.
According to 4th Marine Brigade Commander Col. Ruben Candelario, troops of the Marine Battalion Landing Team – 1 (MBLT-1) with 2Lt. Mark Baldazan as the officer on the ground of a team had an intensive 30-minute firefight with the group of ASG members. This resulted to the death of ASG Sub-leader Hatib Manup Binda and recovery of one (1) M16 Rifle and (1) M14 rifle. The cadaver of Binda was later found by MBLT-1 while scouring the encounter site.
A pursuit operation immediately followed that at 06:45 AM another armed encounter led by Cpt. Jeffrey C. Marquez against the group of another ASG Sub-leader Sansibar Bensio a few meters from the first encounter site. The firefight lasted for about 20 minutes and resulted to the death of Barahama, and recovery of one (1) M14 rifle.
MGen. Gonzales, attributed the success of the operation to the intensified intelligence gathering of battalions under the 4MBde. “Two days prior the encounter I was briefed by Col. Candelario regarding their plans for these sub-leader that they are targeting. They executed it with the Col. Marvin who is decisive and snappy that they were able to bring down two Panamao based ASG subleaders,” MGen Gonzales said.
ASG Subleader Binda is known to be involved in Kidnap for Ransom (KFR) activities at the tri-boundaries of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Philippines. He was a member since 2002 and known at the municipalities of Kalingalan Caluang and Panamao, both of Sulu.
Meanwhile, Sub-leader Bensio Barahama who is a Panamao-based ASG is directly involved in the KFR of a Swiss national named Lorenzo Vinciguerra and Indonesian nationals Maharudin Bin Lunani and Muhammad Farhan (both Indonesian National). His group also targeted and victimized several Filipinos for their KRF activities.
To recall, seven members of ASG set to conduct KFR were neutralized by troops of JTF – Sulu earlier this month. Furthermore, would be suicide bomber identified as Rezky Rullie was apprehended on October 11, 2020. This series of combat and special operations is made possible by the cooperation of civilians who give tip-offs.
“All the military units here in Sulu remain vigilant and resilient in eliminating the remaining ASG terrorists. We are backed by the local government and by the residents of Sulu. With them we will continue to work tirelessly to end terrorism,’’ said Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, JTF Sulu Commander and 11th Infantry Division Commander.
(Source: 11th Infantry Division Alakdan Troopers Facebook page)