The military continues its offensive operation against 70 to 80 members of Abu Sayyaf led by Isnilon Hapilon and the reportedly critically wounded Furuji Indama.
Government troops have captured three Abu Sayyaf militants as the military continued to close in on the terror group, said to be in defensive positions in the jungle of Tipo-Tipo, Basilan.
Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., designated ground operation spokesman, said the three militants were captured Tuesday.
“The three suspects, Abu Sayyaf members, were captured on the operational ground,” Tan said.
The names of the three were not made available as they were placed under tactical interrogation.
Meanwhile, the troops are cautiously advancing to the Abu Sayyaf positions.
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Tan said there were clashes but described it as sporadic, adding that no casualty was monitored on the ground.
“The operation has been ongoing and there is no let-up. We are always careful in our advance because these remnants are already in defensive position,” Tan said.
About five battalions and additional companies of strike forces have been deployed in the offensive operation to pursue around 70 to 80 members of a group led by Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and the reportedly critically wounded Furuji Indama. Tan, however, could not confirm reports saying that Indama has died due to serious injuries.
He also declined to comment if the US-trained Light Reaction Company (LRC) was among the unit deployed.
“I cannot confirm nor deny if the enemy will know that they will swing tactics,” according to Tan.
But the military official said they have reserve forces that they could insert into the operation ground once needed.