ZAMBOANGA CITY – Two children were reported killed and 8 others wounded, including 5 soldiers, in fierce clashes with Abu Sayyaf militants in the southern Philippine province of Sulu, the miliyary said Sunday.
The Western Mindanao Command said at least 30 militants clashed with Special Forces soldiers in the village of Igasan in Patikul town.
Troops were deployed in the area after receiving reports that the Abu Sayyaf attacked a community there and killed 2 children and wounded 3 others.
It said the weekend fighting lasted for half an hour and that 6 militants were allegedly killed, but the military did not say if troops recover the bodies of the slain enemies under Mundi Sawadjaan.
The military said soldiers from the 13th Special Forces Company under 2nd Lieutenant Christian Capiz also assisted villagers in vacating the area.
Brigadier General Peter Angelo Ramos, commander of the 1102nd Infantry Brigade, condemned the Abu Sayyaf attack on civilians especially during the holy month of Ramadan. “The desperate Abu Sayyaf attack against the innocent civilians is a total disrespect to the tenets of Islam as a religion of peace and a blatant disregard in the observance of the holy month of Ramadan,” he said, recalling how militants also targeted a medical mission and policemen escorting government teachers in Patikul town in February that left 2 cops wounded.
Brigadier General Divino Rey Pabayo Jr., who heads the Joint Task Force Sulu, said the Abu Sayyaf attacked civilians on suspicion they were providing information to the military about the militant group. “They were furious even to their own families whom they suspected of collaborating with our soldiers. The death of the two innocent children and the wounding of three other civilians are indicative of the Abu Sayyaf’s desperate actions of sowing fear among the local populace,” Pabayo said and urged the locals to strongly condemn this un-Islamic and treacherous acts of the Abu Sayyaf.
“Let us remain firm with our resolve in putting an end to this senseless killing of innocent civilians,” he said. (The Zamboanga Post. With a report from Rhoderick Beñez)
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