Monday, November 24, 2014

Troops kill 2 Sayyaf, capture rebel camp in Basilan province

From the Mindanao Examiner BlogSpot site (Nov 24): Troops kill 2 Sayyaf, capture rebel camp in Basilan province

Government troops seized an Abu Sayyaf camp following a firefight in the restive southern Philippine province of Basilan that left at least 2 rebels dead, officials said Monday.

Captain Franco Suelto, a spokesman for the 1st Infantry Division, said members of the 64th Infantry Battalion headed by Lieutenant Michael Ignar engaged the rebels in the village of Baiwas in Sumisip town, a known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.

Suelto said the rebels, under Katatuh Balaman, managed to break into smaller groups and escaped the military operations. “At least two Abu Sayyaf gunmen were killed in the fighting, but the operation against them is still going on,” he told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.

But the Western Mindanao Command claimed 5 Abu Sayyaf gunmen were reported killed in Basilan.

He said there were no reports of military casualties in the weekend clash. He said troops also recovered a shotgun, one 40 millimeter grenade, one solar panel, one battery and other documents about the Abu Sayyaf.

He said soldiers also discovered ten thatched houses which can accommodate at least 50 people inside the rebel camp which was surrounded with trenches.

Suelto said civilians in the village may also be in cahoots with the Abu Sayyaf. “The influx of civilians coming in and out, to and from the encounter site is an indication that these people might be legitimate members and sympathizers or supporters of the Abu Sayyaf who intend to extract information (on the military operation.),” he said.

There was no immediate statement either from the village leaders or town officials about the presence of the Abu Sayyaf camp in the area.

Authorities tagged the Abu Sayyaf as behind the spate of kidnappings and terrorism in the southern Philippines.

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