File photo showing hand grenade and other items recovered from the crime scene where former Abu Sayyaf Riyadzkan Maulana was killed by government troops in a buy-bust operation in Tawi-Tawi. (Photo courtesy of the Western Mindanao Command)
By Tracy Cabrera
BONGAO, TAWI-TAWI — A former member of the notorious Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) was killed by government forces in a drug buy-bust operation in Sapa-Sapa town in Tawi-Tawi, the Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom) reported.
WesMinCom commander Lieutenant General Corleto Vinluan identified the former Abu Sayyaf as Riyadzkan Maulana, also known as Tamyang, who had turned drug pusher after surrendering to the authorities in 2019.
Vinluan said Maulana died in the buy-bust operation conducted by elements of the Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT) and Sapa-Sapa Municipal Police Station in Barangay Poblacion in Sapa-Sapa at around 11:00 in the morning, Friday, January 22.
According to MBLT6 commanding officer Lt. Colonel Noel Calendatas, Maulana had been under surveillance for his illegal transactions and activities for quite some time until and entrapment operation was finalized before he was killed.
“In coordination with our police counterparts, we immediately conducted a drug buy-bust operation in the area. Sensing the troops, Maulana drew a hand grenade forcing the former to retaliate,” Calendatas said.
A hand grenade, lighter, a motorized boat (jungkung type), seven heat-sealed plastic containing white crystalline substances believed to be shabu, six pieces of aluminum foil, one improvised tooter and the P500.00 marked money were recovered from the crime scene.
Vinluan said the former ASG kidnap-for-ransom member was under Salip Murah Asgali and Majan Sahijuan, a.k.a. Apo Mike. He already surrendered to Sapa-Sapa Municipal Police Station last February 20, 2019, but continued with his illegal drug trade.
The WesMinCom commander added that Maulana was one of the coddlers of the ASG/KFRG who recently transited on the island of Tawi-Tawi. He particularly supported the suspects in the January 16, 2020 kidnapping incident in Tambisan Island in Lahad Datu, Sabah.
While he surrendered to authorities in April 2020 he still managed to conduct lawless activities including drug pushing and likewise committed several other crimes, among them indiscriminate firing and intimidating the barangay captain of Lakit Lakit in Sapa-Sapa. (AI/MTVN)