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10 December 2000 - ABS-CBN

"Injured" Kumander Robot spotted in Jolo

JOLO, (ABS-CBN) - Abu Sayyaf leader Ghalib Andang, alias Kumander Robot, has been spotted in this town, in critical condition after a gun battle a week ago, intelligence reports said.

Robot has reportedly sustained serious injuries during a skirmish with government troops in Talipao town a few days ago.

The Abu Sayyaf leader is said to be the head of the bandit group holding Filipino, Roland Ullah, and possibly American Jeffrey Schilling, both reported to have been kidnapped separately.

Based on the report, Robot was seen on December 2 in the company of four armed men in the vicinity of Jolo, where he allegedly sought treatment.

As this developed, the military has intensified its operations and intelligence gathering to determine the whereabouts of the Moro rebel leader.

Abu Sayyaf guerillas have been on the run since the military crushed its strongholds in Basilan and Sulu provinces last September.

Robot's group is responsible for seizing, 21, mostly foreign nationals from a Malaysian dive resort last April.

Since then, hostages were released in batches over a four-month period, after receiving millions in dollars in ransom payments from various negotiators.

So far, military authorities have tagged both Schilling and Ullah as collaborators of the Abu Sayyaf after receiving reports from residents in Jolo.

Schilling's abduction in late August was widely perceived as a gimmick of the bandit group following reports that prior to the "kidnapping," the burly American was reportedly negotiating the sale of sophisticated weapons to the Abu Sayyaf.

Ullah on the other hand, was similarly seen in Jolo, brandishing a firearm while walking without any escorts.


Since the military launched operations on September 16, a total of 203 rebels have been killed, 173 captured and 260 surrendered.

On the other hand, 12 soldiers and civilian volunteers have died with 53 others wounded amid various encounters with the rebel group.

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