At least two combatants were killed and eight others wounded Firday morning in a one-hour firefight—the third in six days--between government troops and the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Barangay Long Kiaban, Talipao, Sulu.
The firefight started at around 8:55 a.m. when the ASG ambushed a Barangay Police Auxiliary Team (BPAT) convoy of two Tamaraw jeeps and a Kennedy jeep, Captain Ryan Lecuesta, civil-military operations officer of the 2nd Marine Brigade, said.
“The BPAT were heading toward Barangay Mabahay to replace a BPAT group in that area when ambushed by the bandits. The Marines sent troops to the area to reinforce the BPAT. The firefight lasted for more than one hour afterwhich the bandits withdrew in small groups to different directions,” Lacuesta said.
The wounded BPAT members were taken to the
Hospital and the two Marines are being
treated at . Camp Bautista Station
The 30-man ASG suffered one fatality identified as Jul Asman Sangkula, Lacuesta said.
A member of the BPAT was also killed, however, and six others were wounded. Two soldiers from the Marine Battalion Landing Team 2 (MBLT2) were also injured.
On February 8, soldiers of MBLT2 and BPAT assaulted an Abu bandits’ lair in Barangay Mabahay, resulting in the death of six Abu bandits and wounding of six BPAT members. The bandits were led by sub-leader Yasser Igasan.
Pursuit operations against the ASG sparked a new firefight on February 12 in the same barangay, with another bandit identified only as Sahadil ending up dead. One soldier was also wounded.
On the same day, more than 30 bandits ambushed a convoy of officers and employees of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO), Junior Chamber International (JCI) or Jaycees and soldiers of MBLT9 in Sitio Bakud, Barangay Bid in Parang town.
The pre-noon ambush killed a soldier and left 3 others wounded.
Relatedly, the military will continue to operate against suspected lairs of the ASG through “focused” and ‘surgical” operations to deny bandits access to civilian communities for their logistics, according to 2nd Marine Brigade Colonel Jose Johriel Cenabre.
He said the local government units in affected towns are “closely coordinating with us for continuous law enforcement operations to flush out the bandits from their area of jurisdictions and contain them into an area conducive for military operations where there would be no civilian collaterals.”