ZAMBOANGA CITY – Four soldiers, including an army officer, were wounded in fierce battle with Abu Sayyaf militants in Sulu province in southern Philippines, officials said Tuesday.
Lt. Col. Gerry Besana, a spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command, said the fighting erupted in the village called Panglayahan in Patikul town. He said troops from the 32nd Infantry Battalion clashed Monday afternoon with about 50 gunmen under Abu Sayyaf leader Radulan Sahiron.
“Heavy skirmishes ensued which resulted to the wounding of an army officer and three soldiers, while heavy casualties were reported on the enemy’s side based on human intelligence,” Besana said.
He said the wounded soldiers were evacuated to a military hospital in the capital town of Jolo. The identities and ranks of the casualties were not made public by Besana.
Soldiers recovered 50 kilos of rice, personal belongings with blood stains and assorted medicines from the Abu Sayyaf encampment.
Lt. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, chief of the Western Mindanao Command, said operations against the Abu Sayyaf will not stop until the militants have been neutralized. “The Joint Task Force Sulu continues to intensify the conduct of offensives against the Abu Sayyaf to neutralize the remaining bandits,” he said.
Dela Vega also thanked the local government and civilians for providing intelligence to the military. “We extend our gratitude to the local government and the populace for helping troops in fighting terrorism by means of giving information, thus, making it easier for us to neutralize the outlaws,” he said.
The Abu Sayyaf is fighting for a caliphate in the troubled region. (Mindanao Examiner)
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