Gunfight between military and MILF continues in Basilan village: official
ZAMBOANGA CITY Sporadic fighting between government troops and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) members backed by lawless elements which began Tuesday is continuing in the hinterlands of Basilan province, a top military official said Wednesday.
Brig. Gen. Domingo Gobway, 101st Infantry Brigade commander, said troops of the 64th Infantry Battalion in a detachment in Barangay Ulitan, Ungkaya Pukan, Basilan are on a defensive position.
“As of now, the troops are on the defensive position since the MILF are the ones attacking,” Gobway said in a text message.
The firefight broke out around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday when a soldier at a detachment in Barangay Ulitan, Ungkaya Pukan was hit by a sniper from an area occupied by MILF members and lawless elements.
Gobway said the MILF members involved in the gunfight are led by a certain Commander Huram, whose group entered Barangay Ulitan fully armed.
Reports reaching this city said five MILF members have been killed. Gobway replied: “We don’t know. There is no body count.”
“We cannot confirm because they are carrying their casualties,” Gobway added.
There are calls from the MILF side for the troops to withdraw so fighting in Barangay Ulitan will stop.
“We cannot withdraw our troops in the area,” Gobway said.
He said they established a detachment in Barangay Ulitan to prevent the entry of lawless groups as what happened last September. DMS