2 Abu Sayyaf bandits die, eight soldiers wounded in clash
Two suspected members of Abu Sayyaf group were killed in an encounter with the military in Sulu province early Sunday morning.
Joint Task Force Sulu spokesperson Colonel Rodrigo Gregorio said the encounter happened around 6:45 am at Indanan town after residents told them armed men were present.
Gregorio said members of the 11th Scout Ranger Company went to the area and engaged the eight armed men.
Two were killed as the other gunmen escaped. The military believed the group broke up into smaller units and planted improvised bombs to slow down their pursuers.
But on Sunday noon, soldiers encountered around 100 armed men suspected to be Abu Sayyaf members in Patikul town. Eight soldiers were wounded while casualties on the gunmen could not be determined, said Major Filemon Tan, spokesman of the Western Mindanao Command.
Tan said the soldiers were given air support and artillery fire. The commander of the 501 st Brigade was ordered to block possible escape routes of the gunmen, Tan added.
The two deaths brought to a total of 38 Abu Sayyaf bandits killed since July this year when the government launched focused military operations in Sulu to rescue foreign hostages.
So far, 15 soldiers were killed while 28 were wounded since the start of the offensive.
The Abu Sayyaf bandits are still holding captive 14 people that include five Malaysians, five Filipinos, two Indonesians and a Dutch birdwatcher. Ella Dionisio/DMS