Saturday, July 5, 2014

4 soldiers wounded in new clashes with Sayyaf

From the Mindanao Examiner BlogSpot site (Jul 5): 4 soldiers wounded in new clashes with Sayyaf

Four government soldiers were wounded in fresh clashes with Abu Sayyaf militants in the southern Philippine province of Sulu where security forces are pursuing the al-Qaeda-linked group holding several kidnapped foreigners and Filipinos.

The fighting broke out Friday in Patikul, a day after the military announced the capture of an Abu Sayyaf base in the town's hinterlands. The wounded soldiers were airlifted to Zamboanga City as troops continue to pursue the militants in Patikul, a known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf in the province.

There were no reports of casualties in the latest fighting. The military did not release the names of the soldiers. 

Just this week, two marines were wounded in clashes with militants in the town where troops recovered a huge cache of improvised explosives from the captured Abu Sayyaf base believed used by Radulan Sahiron, a senior leader of the group which is being linked by authorities to al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya.

Brigadier General Martin Pinto, commander of the 2nd Marine Brigade based in Sulu province, described the Abu Sayyaf camp as well fortified with connecting trenches and well–established firing positions and with littered with hundreds of improvised explosives.

He said the persistence of troops to capture the enemy base forced the heavily-armed Abu Sayyaf fighters to break into smaller groups and fled. But there were no indications that Sahiron was among the dead or wounded in the fighting which began on June 30, but there were reports that the Abu Sayyaf had fled with some of their kidnapped victims. The operations were still continuing in the province.

It was unknown whether the hostages were foreigners or Filipinos. Most of the hostages were kidnapped in Sabah in Malaysia and Tawi-Tawi in southern Philippines and brought to Sulu.

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