MANILA, May 3 (Mabuhay) – Filipino bomb-maker Basit Usman, the target of a massive government dragnet since the January 25 Mamasapano mission where he escaped as police commandos were closing in on Malaysian terrorist Marwan, was killed before noon Sunday, according to reliable military intelligence sources.
Usman and two comrades were shot dead when his group, along with a unit under a Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) commander, ran into State forces in Guindolongan town in Maguindanao, the sources said.
“Yes, Usman is dead, It’s confirmed,” a high-ranking intelligence officer said, though an official military confirmation has been withheld “pending verification on the ground.”
Brigadier General Joselito Kakilala, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman and Civil Relations Service (CRS) chief, “We’re still getting verification and confirmation on the ground.”
The encounter happened at aroun 11:30 a.m. in Barangay Mote near Camp Afdal, according to the intelligence source.
There had been reports, since the military launched an offensive to get Usman, that the alleged bomb-maker said to have been trained by Marwan (real name: Zulkifli bin Hir) and his men were being coddled by one Commander Marlboro’s unit, under the 106th Base Command of the MILF led by Wahid Tundok.
Usman and Amin Baco alias Jihad, a Malyasian terrorist, as well as four other “foreign-looking terrorists” had eluded the Special Action Force (SAF) raid of January 25 in Tukanalipao village in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, where Marwan was shot dead. The mission proved tragic, though, as it led to the death of 44 SAF men, 17 MILF members and three civilians, and plunged the Aquino presidency into its worst political crisis. Hundreds of MILF fighters as well as from its faction, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and private armed groups pinned down the police commandos as they withdrew from the area where they had killed Marwan, sparking a 12-hour battle.
Between them, Marwan and Usman had been blamed for killing dozens of Filipinos in several missions in a decade-long career. Both had warrants of arrest for these bombing capers. (MNS)