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Fighting erupts in Sulu

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Three more soldiers were wounded in fierce clashes with Abu Sayyaf militants in the southern Filipino province of Sulu and bringing the casualties to 5 as fighting continues Friday, the military said.

The Western Mindanao Command said soldiers also recovered 2 bodies of slain militants in Panglayahan village in Patikul town where troops clashed Thursday with some 120 Abu Sayyaf gunmen under Radulan Sahiron and Hajan Sawadjaan.

Security forces also battled about 80 more militants in Kabbon Takas village, also in Patikul, later in the day.  And the military claimed that 10 more militants were killed and many more wounded, but no cadavers were recovered by soldiers, except for 2 bodies.

On Thursday, the military said 2 soldiers were also wounded in the fighting. And early this week, soldiers also clashed in Patikul and killed 2 militants, one of them Barak Ingog, helped facilitate twin suicide attacks by an Indonesian ISIS couple on a Catholic church in the capital town of Jolo in January.

The bombings killed and wounded dozens of people, mostly civilians and soldiers. The other slain gunman, Nasser Sawadjaan, was a nephew of Sawadajaan.

Security forces mounted massive operations in Sulu since early this year as part of President Duterte’s order to the military to destroy the Abu Sayyaf, whose leaders pledged allegiance with ISIS.

The operations had resulted in the recovery of 2 Indonesian and a Malaysian fisherman held by the Abu Sayyaf on Simisa Island off Sulu. However, two of the hostages, Malaysian Jari Abdullah, eventually died in hospital in Zamboanga City from a gunshot wound, and Hariadin drowned while escaping the fighting between troops and militants. (The Zamboanga Post)


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