Philippines

Army ‘kills Abu Sayyaf commander’ blamed for beheadings

Clash on Bohol leaves several fighters dead, notably Moammar Askali, blamed for the beheading of foreign hostages.

In 2000, Abu Sayyaf men snatched foreign tourists from a Malaysian resort, releasing them for millions of dollars in ransoms [File/AP]

Soldiers battling Abu Sayyaf in central Philippines are reported to have killed a key commander of the armed group who had been blamed for the beheadings of two Canadians and a German hostage.

Military chief of staff General Eduardo Ano said troops recovered and identified the remains of Moammar Askali, also known as Abu Rami, at the scene of the battle in a coastal village on Bohol island on Tuesday.

Five other Abu Sayyaf members were killed, along with four soldiers and policemen.

Ano said troops took the picture of Askali after his death and that captured Abu Sayyaf fighters identified the the young commander.

“This is a major blow to the Abu Sayyaf,” Ano told AP news agency. “If they have further plans to kidnap innocent people somewhere, they will now have to think twice.”

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