BASILAN – Government troops seized an Abu Sayyaf encampment on a remote hilltop in Sumisip town in the troubled province of Basilan where security forces continue to pursue the notorious militant group tied to the Islamic State, officials said Saturday.
Officials said soldiers also recovered homemade bomb components left behind by militants under Puruji Indama after engaging them in a firefight. Military aircrafts, officials said, provided close air support while ground troops pounded the area with artillery fire.
Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, a spokeswoman for the Western Mindanao Command, quoting reports from army commanders in Basilan, said as many as 20 militants were killed in the clashes since May 11, but the military could not provide proofs of the claims except for information allegedly provided by civilians and former militants who surrendered to them.
Petinglay, reading from the army reports, said troops discovered about a dozen makeshift tents at the encampment that could accommodate at least 40 militants.
Basilan, one of 5 provinces under the Muslim autonomous region, is a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf which has been fighting for the establishment of a caliphate in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)
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