SULU – Abu Sayyaf militants killed a government soldier and wounded 2 others in a firefight in the southern Filipino province of Sulu.
The fighting, which erupted in Patikul town, was unreported by the Western Mindanao Command, but security sources said the clash occurred in the village called Tugas in Patikul town. There were no casualties on the enemy side.
Troops were searching for a kidnapped government engineer Enrico Nee in the village when gunmen attacked them, sparking a firefight. Nee was seized February 14 while waiting for a motorcycle taxi near his home in San Raymundo village in Jolo town.
Nee was dragged by gunmen to a get-away vehicle and sped off. He works for the Department of Public Works and Highways under the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
His fate remains unknown, but the abduction came despite military’s pronouncement in the province that the Abu Sayyaf is now on the run due to the continued government campaign against the notorious rebel group tied to the Islamic State.
It also occurred while the region is under an extended martial rule. It was unclear how the militants managed to sneaked into the capital town where policemen and soldiers were supposed to be guarding from the Abu Sayyaf.
The abduction came just several days after troops killed 4 militants in a clash in Panamao town where seven soldiers were also wounded in the fighting. Members of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 3 fought with some 30 gunmen under Abu Sayyaf commanders Sansibar Bensio and Hatib Munap Binda in Mount Bawis.
The soldiers were sent to the area following intelligence reports that several Abu Sayyaf hostages had been spotted there. The militants are still holding over a dozen captives, mostly seamen kidnapped off Sabah in Malaysia over the years. (Mindanao Examiner)
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