From ABS-CBN (May 1): Wounded soldiers in Sulu receive medals
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) awarded medals and gave financial assistance to 19 soldiers who were injured in an operation launched against members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Sitio Kanjimao, Barangay Buhanginan, Patikul, Sulu.
The new Flag Officer In Command of the Philippine Navy, Rear Admiral Jesus C. Millan, and Commander of Western Mindanao Command Lt. Gen Rustico Guerrero officiated the distribution of medals to the wounded soldiers Thursday morning.
In an interview, Millan said he went to Zamboanga City to check on the condition of his men who were injured in the Patikul clash.
He said he is meeting with other Navy officers for an orientation on security operations relating to Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NAVFORWEM)'s area of responsibility.
Guerrero said at least 20 of 25 Abu Sayyaf casualties have been identified. One of the wounded is ASG sub-leader Yasser Igasan.
Guerrero said the recent capture of an ASG camp in in Sitio Kanjimao will affect the bandits' operations since the camp was used to train new recruits and convene members of the group.
He, however, admitted that they are still verifying the figures, all solely dependent on testimonies of villagers who saw the withdrawing members of the ASG after the operation.
On April 28, a Marine was killed while 19 soldiers were wounded during a three-hour gun fight with the Abu Sayyaf Group.
The military said there are still more than 14 kidnap victims being held in Sulu, including two European bird watchers who were abducted in 2012.
Guerrero said all the hostages are alive, according to an intelligence source.