An Abu Sayyaf militant who was directly involved in the kidnapping and beheading of Canadian and German nationals has been killed in a firefight with the Philippines Army during a thwarted hostage taking expedition.
The military recovered the body of Muamar Askali, also known as Abu Rami, following clashes on the popular tourist island of Bohol. Six members of Abu Sayyaf, which declared its allegiance to the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in 2014, were killed in the shootout.
Abu Rami appears to have traveled to Bohol—which is 340 miles from Abu Sayyaf’s island strongholds in the south—with the intention of kidnapping foreign nationals on vacation.
Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Eduardo Ano said Abu Rami was “a very notorious Abu Sayyaf leader,” who had climbed the ranks of separatist group. He was directly involved in some of the worst atrocities carried out by the Filipino jihadis, including the beheading of German national Jurgen Kantner and Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall.
The killing of the Muslim extremist leader is no doubt a success but it also reveals the daunting fact that the militants are venturing farther from their jungle hideouts to spread terror.