Three ‘Abu Sayyaf bombers’ killed in encounter off Zamboanga City

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 25) — Police killed three suspected Abu Sayyaf bombers on board a pump boat in waters off Zamboanga City Wednesday morning.

The militants were “believed to be on a bombing mission” when authorities spotted them “speeding towards Zamboanga City” at daybreak, the Philippine National Police said in a statement.

The suspects opened fire at the police, the PNP said, resulting in a fire fight off Barangay Taluksungay. Two caliber .45 pistols and a cache of explosives were recovered from their pump boat, the PNP said.

Police identified the alleged bandits as Radi Nalul Tahirin, Hasan Alimin, and Abdilla Aspalin. Two were rushed to the hospital but were declared dead on arrival, while authorities are still searching for the third one who fell in the water.

The PNP said national police chief, General Debold Sinas informed Interior Secretary Eduardo Año about the operation. The Department of Interior and Local Government has supervision over the police.

Authorities are still going after Abu Sayyaf bomb expert Mundi Sawadjaan, the alleged mastermind in the twin blasts that left 14 dead and dozens wounded in Jolo, Sulu in August. His cousin, identified as Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Arsibar Sawadjaan was killed in a clash the following month while his supposed aide was arrested in Zamboanga City.