Usman killed in firefight with MILF — AFP

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Sen. Bongbong Marcos, chair of the Committee on Local Government, reviews the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law focusing on the ceasefire mechanisms to be implemented between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). (MNS photo)

Sen. Bongbong Marcos, chair of the Committee on Local Government, reviews the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law focusing on the ceasefire mechanisms to be implemented between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) — Known bomb-maker Abdul Basit Usman’s resistance against members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that were going to capture him when he entered their area started the firefight that led to his death, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said Wednesday.

In a statement, the AFP said that after their verification, “we have learned that Basit Usman entered an MILF area,” where elements of the said group “accosted him so that he can be brought to the MILF Central Committee.”

“However, Basit Usman resisted, triggering a firefight that resulted to his death,” the statement read.

This affirms the statement of MILF vice chairman for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar, who maintains it was their fighters who killed Usman when they tried to bring him to the Central Committee.

Usman—the second target of the January 25 Philippine National Police Special Action Force operation in Mamasapano that killed a total of 66 people—was confirmed killed in a firefight in Guindulungan, Maguindanao at around noon on Sunday.

Earlier, AFP chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. said the MILF went to the area “to verify,” following earlier reports from Maguindanao police chief S/Supt. Nickson Muksan.

Muksan said Usman was killed by members of the MILF’s 118th Base Command in Barangay Muti.

“Narinig ng MILF, pumunta rin. Not sure kung may pumutok sa MILF, pero may nakuha ring baril… Nagpunta ang MILF du’n to verify. We are still finding out kung patay na si Usman nu’ng dumating ang MILF or there was firefight,” Catapang said.

He added that an infighting among Usman’s followers because of the bounty over his head led to the terrorist’s death.

MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal also said the firefight that led to Usman’s killing was borne out of an order from the MILF central command to their officers on the ground to capture the bomb-maker.

Usman was head of the Special Operations Group of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a splinter group of the MILF. He was also affiliated with the likes of Jemaah Islamiyah and the Abu Sayyaf Group.

He managed to escape the SAF troopers in the January 25 operation, which eventually led to the military launching an all-out offensive against him and the MIFF in Maguindanao from February to March. (MNS)

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