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MANILA, June 26 — Philippine security forces killed four suspected Abu Sayyaf terrorists in a shootout inside a subdivision in the country’s capital Manila early today, reported Xinhua news agency.
Police said a team of soldiers and policemen went to the subdivision in Paranaque City, Metro Manila, at midnight on Friday to serve an arrest warrant to one of the suspects for an alleged violation of illegal possession of firearm and ammunition.
However, the main suspect and his wife allegedly fired at the arresting team and triggered a shootout.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to sign into law a new anti-terror law that strengthens the country’s efforts to combat domestic terrorism.
The new law, an enhanced version of a 2007 counter-terror law, was crafted “in order to adequately and effectively contain the menace of terrorist acts for the preservation of national security,” according to Duterte’s letter dated on June 1, 2020, urging the House of Representatives to act immediately on the bill.
Both the country’s House of Representatives and the Senate have passed the bill, and it is now awaiting Duterte’s signature.
Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief General Felimon Santos issued a statement on Friday, urging Duterte to “expedite the signing of the anti-terrorism bill so that it can be immediately implemented” amid “the unwanted presence of Abu Sayyaf terrorists in Metro Manila.”
Santos said the Paranaque shootout “all the more highlights” the need for the new law. “It is public security and general welfare at stake. We should protect and defend the Filipinos from terrorists,” he added.
The Abu Sayyaf Group is considered the smallest but the most violent of the extremist groups in the southern Philippines. The group, which has an estimated 400 fighters, is active in the impoverished island provinces of Sulu and Basilan.
The group is responsible for the series of kidnappings, deadly bombings, ambushes of security personnel, public beheadings, assassinations, and extortion in the Mindanao region. — Bernama
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