Malaysian Police Shoot Dead 5 Abu Sayyaf Terrorists in Borneo

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Malaysia police shot dead five suspected Abu Sayyaf terrorists in an encounter. The raid took place last week in Sabah, a state in the Malaysian part of the island of Borneo. The Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf terror group is known for brutal and deadly kidnappings for ransom.

The police said the five militants were killed during a patrol in an area from where they had arrested eight members of the group earlier.

"Our men knocked on the door of one of the squatter houses but were met with hostile gunfire, which we immediately returned," said Sabah police commissioner Hazani Ghazali, according to IANS.

Abu Sayyaf group, Malaysia
Filipino soldiers stand near the bodies of members of Abu Sayyaf group, killed during a firefight with government soldiers, after they rescued two Indonesian hostages from Islamist militant captors, in Jolo, Sulu in southern Philippines, September 7, 2017 Reuters

The Abu Sayyaf terror group, which has carried out several deadly attacks in the southern regions of the Philippines, has declared loyalty to the Islamic State terror group. The outfit has been named a terrorist organization by the US and the Philippines.

What is Abu Sayyaf?

Abu Sayyaf translates into 'Bearer of the Sword'. It is an Islamic militant group founded in the early 1990s by a preacher who returned from the Afghan war.

Abu Sayyaf took shape as a splinter group of the Moro National Liberation Front MNLF).

The group was behind several bombings, hostage taking and kidnap for ransom throughout the 90s. They were behind the Manila bombings in 2005 and the bomb explosion outside the Philippine Congress in 2007 that killed a Congressman and three others.

In 2001 they kidnapped tourists from a resort and murdered three of the hostages later, including an American.

Philippine troops kill 4 Abu Sayyaf militants in Bohol
Philippine troops Reuters

Abu Sayyaf's vision is the establishment of a pan-Islamic super-state in Southeast Asia. Their immediate goal is to set up an Islamic state in the western Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago.

Abu Sayyaf founder Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalan was killed in a military action in 1998 and his brother who took over the reins of the outfit was killed in 2006.

The outfit has been linked to al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiah at various times.