Abu Sayyaf leader, cohorts in Samal kidnapping killed – Wesmincom

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(File photo) Abu Sayyaf Group with its hostages.

(CNN Philippines) — The Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) confirmed the killing of alleged Abu Sayyaf leader and two members — suspects in the kidnapping of three foreigners and a Filipina in Samal Island, Davao del Norte.

Wesmincom, through a statement sent on Saturday, confirmed Sabah authorities killed leader Abraham Hamid and two others in a shootout last Thursday in Lahad Datu. It said the Abu Sayyaf members were stopped by security forces in Sabah from executing their kidnapping plans by engaging them in a "surprise shootout."

Two alleged Abu Sayyaf members, Samsung Aljan and Awal Hajal, were also arrested in the operation. Two others are still missing.

Wesmincom said Hamid's death will be a huge blow to the Abu Sayyaf group.

"The death of Hamid is a big blow to the ASG as it neutralized one of the notorious bandits leader and will degrade their capability for spotting and kidnapping victims in the future," the statement read.

Hamid was believed to be the brains behind the abduction of Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, Norweigian Kjartan Sekkingstad, and Filipino Marites Flor at the Holiday Oceanview Samal Resort last September 21, 2015.

The Abu Sayyaf Group beheaded Ridsdel and Hall, while Sekkingstad and Flor were freed.

Hamid was also tagged in the kidnapping of four Indonesian crew members.

CNN Philippines' Senior Correspondent David Santos contributed to this report.