The operating troops of 45th Infantry Battalion of 1st Brigade Combat Team under Joint Task Force Sulu clashed with the elements of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) at Brgy. Latih, Patikul, Sulu, around 6 o’clock in the evening on April 22, 2020.
The troops encountered undetermined numbers of ASG in a firefight that lasted for thirty four (34) minutes.
Lieutenant Colonel Ruben B. Guinolbay, Commanding Officer of 45th Infantry Battalion stated that prior to the clash, troops were able to track the ASG despite the rainy condition from Brgy Maligay going to Brgy Latih, both of Patikul, Sulu. Troops were able to sneak closer to the ASGs position and fired upon a surprise that forced the said outlaws to run towards different directions.
Engaged troops were also supported by 6th Mechanized and 9th Field Artillery Battalions during the furious firefight.
The encounter resulted to the death of three ASG members identified as Guro Khalid, Udal Muhamadar and a certain Budah. Guro Khalid is the highlighted ASG member known to teach false ideology that moulded the recruited youths in Sulu to become radicals and pushed to conduct terroristic missions.
Further report stated that three more ASGs were killed and suffered numerous casualties. Troops likewise recovered cellphones, bandoliers, ammunition magazines, bag packs and voluminous subversive war materiels in the area.
Also, eight soldiers suffered from minor injuries during the said clash. Said troops were evacuated around 11 o’clock in the evening and were immediately brought at Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital. Five among the wounded troops were later transported to Zamboanga City via helicopter for further treatment.
The encountered ASG was confirmed to be the group clashed by 21st Infantry Battalion on April 17, 2020. Colonel Benjamin G. Batara Jr., Commander of 1st Brigade Combat Team said, “The group encountered by our troops were confirmed under ASG leader Hatib Hadjan Sawadjaan. These were the bandits that shredded the hopes of our fallen soldiers to attain lasting peace. We will persistently run after these terrorists who continuously spoil the peace in the Province of Sulu.”
Major General Corleto S. Vinluan Jr., AFP, Commander of 11th Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Sulu assured that the momentum to eradicate ASG in Sulu will pursue, “These outlaws are threat to the security of the local government units and stakeholders in delivering basic services towards the community during the Enhanced Community Quarantine concerning the confronted serious pandemic. Likewise, they continuously threaten the attainment of lasting peace and further development of Sulu. Our soldiers will pursue the destruction of ASG, and I look forward regarding this matter,” he said.
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