ZAMBOANGA CITY – Security forces were deployed on Monday to pursue Abu Sayyaf militants who raided a village in the restive Muslim province of Basilan in southern Philippines, an army spokesperson said.
Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, of the Western Mindanao Command, said troops will not stop in the hunt for militants, blamed by authorities for the spate of deadly attacks in the province.
She said at least 9 people were reported dead in the attack in Maluso town. The raid left at least 9 people injured. Other reports said as many as 30 people were injured in the attack by about 40 gunmen in the village of Tubigan.
Petinglay said pro-government militias and soldiers from the 68th Infantry Battalion clashed with the militants who were forced to withdraw, but not after they burned at least 5 houses and a multi-purpose hall.
“Heavy firefight ensued forcing the armed group to extricate from the area after almost two hours, with the reinforcing soldiers of the 68th Infantry Battalion and policemen pursuing them,” she said.
She said prior to the raid, troops captured August 19 an Abu Sayyaf encampment in Mangalut village in Akbar town where militants assembled improvised explosives. The area, she added, was being used by militant leader Nurhassan Jamiri. Soldiers also recovered assorted materials in the manufacture of improvised explosives, including rifle magazines, cell phones, batteries and solar panels.
Troops pursuing militants, who escaped the military raid, caught up with them the next day and killed 3 gunmen – Omar Abdurahim, Kahim Jovel Indanan and Ekram Alam – in the fighting. At least 5 others, Abduhari Kabus, Boy Idris, Hasan Kabus, Mammang and Jaber Sali, were also wounded in the clash but they managed to escape. (Mindanao Examiner)
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