From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 13): 3 Sayyaf bandits, soldier die in Sulu clash
Three Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits and a soldier were killed while two others wounded following a firefight amid the intensified operations in Sulu, military officials said Thursday.
Lt. Col. Gerry Besana, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) information officer, said the firefight broke out around 2:25 a.m. Thursday in Minis Island, Patikul, Sulu.
Besana said the clash ensued after the troops belonging to the Philippine Marine Ready Force-Sulu (PMRF-S) spotted some 50 ASG bandits led by Majid Emamil while on an amphibious combat operation in the area.
The identities of the slain and wounded soldiers were not made known except, that they belong to the 83rd and 62nd Marine Companies of the PMRF-S.
Besana said the troops recovered two M-14 rifles abandoned by the group of Emamil, as well as the remains of the three slain ASG bandits.
Besana said the killed and wounded troops were evacuated to Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital in Jolo, Sulu. The two wounded marine soldiers were later airlifted to Camp Navarro General Hospital in this city.
“We are deeply saddened by the news that another gallant soldier was killed during the encounter of our troops with the ASG bandits,” said Lt. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega, commander of Westmincom.
Dela Vega assured that the Westmincom will extend the necessary assistance to the bereaved family.
Dela Vega said the Joint Task Force Sulu continues to intensify the offensives aimed at neutralizing the Abu Sayyaf bandits and rescue all the remaining six hostages.
The remaining hostages included three foreigners--Dutch, Indonesian and Vietnamese--and three Filipinos.
“All measures are now being undertaken, in accordance with the rules of engagement and with the support of the local government and the populace,” Dela Vega added.