Philippines kills Abu Sayyaf most-wanted Albader Parad

Philippines troops killed Abu Sayyaf commander Albader Parad on Sunday, dealing a major blow to the Islamic militant group.

Nickee Butlangan/AP
Filipino soldiers place an identification tag on the body of suspected Abu Sayyaf leader Albader Parad after he and five others were killed in an encounter in the jungles of Jolo in southern Philippines on Sunday.

The Philippines has claimed a significant scalp in its United States-backed war with Muslim militants, bringing it a step closer to its long-term goal of pacifying its southern flank.

Albader Parad was one of six militants that the Philippine military says it killed Sunday in a firefight on the island of Jolo. Mr. Parad led a faction of Abu Sayyaf, a banned group with historic ties to Al Qaeda that is blamed for deadly terrorist attacks and high-profile abductions since the 1990s.

Deadly kidnappings

Parad led a cell that kidnapped three foreign Red Cross workers on Jolo last January. All three were released unharmed after months in captivity. Other, less fortunate captives have been found beheaded after no ransom was paid for their release.

Jolo is an island off the western tip of Mindanao and part of a former Muslim sultanate now under Manila’s rule. More than 500 US soldiers are stationed in the area to assist and train Philippine troops, though not in a combat role. The mission has won plaudits for shrinking terrorist safe havens and bringing aid and development to trouble spots on Jolo and elsewhere.

A major blow

Philippine commanders say Parad was a senior Abu Sayyaf leader and that his death, after troops got word from informants of his location, is a major blow to the organization. It is estimated to number less than 400 members, though its ranks have regenerated after past setbacks and it also survived the killing of previous leaders, including its founders, veterans of the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan.

Parad is a major prize for Philippine commanders, who have sought for months to narrow down their search for him on Jolo, a rugged island and one of two where Abu Sayyaf remains active. The US had offered $1 million for information leading to his capture. He also carried a smaller bounty from the Philippine government.

One of the other slain fighters was the son of Umbra Jumdail, another senior Abu Sayyaf leader, and troops are scouring the area of Sunday’s firefight, hoping to kill or capture another target on their most-wanted list.

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