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10 ASG bandits dead in 2-hour gun battle

Elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) encountered a 150-man strong Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members, killing at least 10 of the bandits while suffering three casualties during a two-hour firefight Saturday in Patikul, Sulu.

Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) spokesman Army Major Filemon Tan Jr. said the Army’s 35th Infantry Battalion led by Lt. Col. Vladimir Lenos T. Villanueva were conducting focused military operations in Bud Taming, Brgy. Kabbontakkas where they ran into the group led by ASG top leader Radullan Sahiron and Sub Leaders Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, Yasser Igasan, and Mujer Yadah.

“Based on the information as confirmed by intel units on the ground and validated by civilians, a total of 10 Abu Sayyaf fighters were killed while six others were hurt as a result of the clash,” said Tan.

Three members of the military perished during the operation while 21 others were injured, most of them were sent to the Kuta Heneral Teodolfo Bautista (KHTB) hospital for proper medical attention.

Tan said the Joint Task Force Sulu continues to conduct pursuit operations and intensify further the conduct of focused military operations to rescue the remaining kidnap victims and neutralize the ASG in Sulu.

Tan said since intensified military operations were launched against the Abu Sayyaf, a total of 157 bandits have been killed in Sulu (114) and Basilan (43) while 29 others were apprehended. (With a report from Nonoy E. Lacson)