- The Washington Times - Monday, February 22, 2010

MANILA | Philippine marines killed a top al Qaeda-linked militant commander and five other extremists early Sunday in an assault on a rebel encampment on a southern island, a senior military commander said.

A marine special operations platoon raided an Abu Sayyaf camp outside Maimbung township on Jolo island following intelligence reports that two wanted militant leaders, Umbra Jumdail and Albader Parad, were there, said Lt. Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino, head of the military’s Western Mindanao Command.

Four civilians have independently identified the body of Parad at a military camp in Jolo town, Gen. Dolorfino said, adding that a younger brother of Jumdail, Abdulhaman Jumdail, also was among the slain rebels.

“It’s a very significant gain in our campaign against terrorism because we all know that Albader Parad is one of the influential leaders [of the Abu Sayyaf],” he said. “This will have a very big demoralizing effect on the other members and shows that they cannot hide forever from the arms of the law.”

Government troops first encountered Parad’s group late Saturday and caught up with them at the encampment early Sunday, he said.

One marine was killed and three others were wounded in the clash, Philippine marines spokesman Lt. Col. Edgard Arevalo said.

The recovery of the slain militants and their weapons indicated the Abu Sayyaf gunmen were caught by surprise and could have suffered more casualties since it was unusual for them to leave the bodies of dead comrades behind, Gen. Dolorfino said.

He said the 30-man marine platoon was backed by other troops deployed to block the escape of the militants from their encampment on Jolo, where the militants have operated for years despite a U.S.-backed military campaign against them.

The Abu Sayyaf, which has about 400 fighters, has been blamed for numerous bombings, beheadings and kidnappings of Filipinos and foreigners, including Americans. It is believed to have received funds from al Qaeda and is on a U.S. list of terrorist organizations.

The U.S. government has offered a $100,000 reward for Jumdail, also known as Dr. Abu, and $15,000 for Parad.

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