Three Abu Sayyaf members killed as troops pursue abductors in Sulu
Three Abu Sayyaf members were killed while seven soldiers were wounded during an encounter in Sulu on Monday, a military official said.
Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Joint Task Force (JTF) Sulu commander, said troops from the 21st Infantry Battalion encountered around 70 Abu Sayyaf members at Sitio Sangay, Brgy Buhanginan, Patikul, Sulu around 6:15 am.
Sobejana said troops were conducting security operation to rescue kidnap victims, including the two policewomen, who were abducted by the Abu Sayyaf last month when the troops encountered the terrorist led by led sub-leaders Idang Susukan and Almujer Yadah.
“Other forces nearby reinforced the engaged troops and pursued the withdrawing Abu Sayyaf. Artillery fire were delivered while attack helicopters provided close air support,” he said.
“The clash resulted in seven soldiers wounded and a number of Abu Sayyaf members were believed to be wounded as several bloodstains are seen along the Abu Sayyaf's withdrawal route,” he added.
Sobejana said the three Abu Sayyaf members were buried immediately by their comrades.
Sobejana said the three slain terrorist members were alias Moktar, alias Julhadi and alias Surayb.
A total of 12 Abu Sayyaf members have been killed, the military said, as authorities tried to recover Police Officer 2 Benierose Alvarez, Police Officer 1 Dinah Gumahad, and two civilians identified as Jakosalem Ahamad Blas and Faizal Ahidji who were abducted on April 29 in Patikul.
Despite casualties by the government troops, Sobejana said JTF Sulu will continue its rescue of the kidnap victims.
“JTF Sulu forces will not stop its focus military operations until all kidnap victims are safely rescued and the Abu Sayyaf's strength is reduced to insignificant level,” he said. Robina Asido/DMS