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Sayyaf who beheaded foreigners resurfaces
Published on: Friday, January 04, 2019
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Sayyaf who beheaded foreigners resurfaces
Kota Kinabalu: An Abu Sayyaf sub-leader who may be listed again as wanted by the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) was not a former member of the Philippine police as reported by international media, a Philippine police official said.

Ben Yadah @ Ben Tattoh was among 18 people on Esscom's previous list of wanted people published in 2017, but his name is not on the current one issued by Esscom in March last year.

In December last year, international media reported him as still alive and on the loose after photos, including one showing him wearing the Philippine National Police's (PNP) Special Counter Insurgency Operation Unit or Scout, emerged on his Facebook profile, raising speculation he had been a member of the unit.

The news reports were based on an investigation by Canadian intelligence research group iBrabo, which supplied the Daily Express the militant's photos from his Facebook account.

"No, he was never a PNP member. We don't have that name in our personnel database - former, active or AWOL (absent without leave)," PNP spokesperson Chief Supt Benigno Durana Jr said.

"ASG (Abu Sayyaf group) are continuously being hunted by government authorities," he said in a text message.

Ben Tattoh, who is also wanted by the Philippine authorities for transborder crimes and by the Canadian government for allegedly beheading two of its citizens in southern Philippines in 2016, also goes by the names Behn Tatuh, Boy Tattoo, Abu Ben Tattoo and Bhen Quirino.

One of the Canadian news reports said Ben Tattoh appears to be an ambitious figure and on Facebook, with an associate calling him the "Big Boss," while fighters often posed for pictures with him.

Posting the police uniform photo and showing his face while killing the Canadians may be signs of his leadership aspirations, the report said.

Ben Tattoh's cell reportedly operates in the Patikul mountain area of Sulu and may be hiding Sabahan militant from Tawau, Amin Baco, who fought in the 2017 Marawi war.

Immediately after beheading Canadian tourists Robert Hall and John Ridsdel, Ben Tattoh went off the radar, but he resurfaced this year.

On June 20 last year, Ben Tattoh helped kidnap relatives of the mayor of Sulu and on Aug 23 last year, the Philippine military engaged an Abu Sayyaf contingent under his command, military reports said.

"We will get more information from our Philippine counterparts about this militant, who was on our wanted list," Esscom chief Datuk Hazani Ghazali told the Daily Express.

"We may put him back on our wanted list, which will be updated in 2019." - Zam Yusa


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