Saturday, September 15, 2018

7 ASG members slain; sub-leader, 17 soldiers wounded in Sulu clash

From the Manila Bulletin (Sep 15): 7 ASG members slain; sub-leader, 17 soldiers wounded in Sulu clash

Seven suspected members of the terror Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) were killed while their sub-leader and 17 soldiers on the part of the government forces were wounded in an armed encounter in Patikul, Sulu on Friday, the military confirmed Saturday.

Troops of the Task Group Panther, led by Lt. Col. Samuel Yunque, and a group of scout rangers, headed by Capt. Michael Asistores, were conducting focused military operations in Barangay Bakong, Patikul, Sulu when they encountered about 100 suspected ASG terrorists, said Lt. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega, Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WESMINCOM) commander.

Dela Vega said the encounter happened around 1:30 p.m. Friday when the armed men suddenly opened fire at the operating troops. The soldiers managed to take cover and fired back.

The group was found out to be under ASG senior leader Radullan Sahiron and sub-leaders Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan and Idang Susukan, Dela Vega added.

Brig. Gen. Divino Rey Pabayo, head of the Joint Task Force (JTF) Sulu, said seven ASG terrorists were killed during the firefight and six others were wounded, including ASG sub-leader Sawadjaan.

“[He] was seriously hit in [the] stomach and lower extremities,” Pabayo said.

“More casualties on the enemy side are yet to be determined based on the blood stains spotted in the encounter site,” he added.

Meanwhile, the JTF Sulu head said 17 soldiers were “slightly” wounded and they were rushed to Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital in Jolo, Sulu for treatment.

The bodies of the slain suspects were also brought to the hospital for forensic examination and proper disposition, Pabayo disclosed.

Soldiers recovered at the encounter site an M-16 rifle, four 5.56 mm magazines, a bandolier, a cellular phone, assorted ammunition, war supplies and apparatus.

Dela Vega assured that all sorts of assistance will be provided to the wounded soldiers.

“Our prayers are with them for their speedy recovery,” he said.

Dela Vega added that more troops were deployed to go after the fleeing bandits.

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