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ZAMBOANGA CITY – President Rodrigo Duterte visited soldiers wounded in a recent battle with Abu Sayyaf militants in Sulu province in southern Philippines, officials said Tuesday.

Military photo shows President Rodrigo Duterte pinning a medal to one of the wounded soldier recuperating at a hospital in Sulu’s capital town of Jolo.

Officials said Duterte, who was accompanied by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, and Armed Forces chief Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr., and Lt. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega, of the Western Mindanao Command, distributed medals to 14 soldiers at a military hospital in Jolo town on Monday.

“Fourteen battle casualties of the Joint Task Force Sulu were accorded with the Order of Lapu-Lapu level of Kampilan Medal by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during his visit in Sulu yesterday,” said Lt. Col. Gerry Besana, a spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command.

He said the soldiers, who suffered from mostly shrapnel wounds, clashed with some 100 militants under Abu Sayyaf leader Radulan Sahiron and sub-leaders Hajan Sawadjaan and Idang Susukan on September 14 in Bakong village in Patikul town.

No other details were made available by the military on Duterte’s visit, but it previously said that 7 militants had been killed in the fighting, however, families of those slain claimed the victims were all civilians and fruit pickers arrested by soldiers.  (Mindanao Examiner)


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