MANILA – Following his escape during the Mamasapano operation, wanted terrorist Basit Usman is still in Central Mindanao according to the Army provincial commander of Isabela, Basilan.
Col. Rolando Bautista, commander of the 104th Infantry Brigade confirmed that Usman still haven’t left Mindanao during an interview with the Philippine Star at the sidelines of the groundbreaking ceremony of a treatment facility in Isabela.
“Based on our sources, and of (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) Gov. Mujiv Hataman, Basit Usman is in Central Mindanao,” Bautista said.
He made the statement following a report that Usman was sighted at a remote village in the municipality of Tuburan, Basilan.
“Also, sources of our operatives here said that there is no signature that Usman is here in the province,” he added.
Earlier reports also stated that Unkaya Pukan mayor Joel Maturan confirmed that he was able to talk to a commander of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) who said that Usman is with a group of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Basilan.
Usman survived the police Special Action Force (SAF) operation to get Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25.